Picture Show: Off Season Sugar Cane Workers Picture Show: Off Season Sugar Cane Workers

Picture Show: Off Season Sugar Cane Workers

April 19, 2010

Google the phrase "Cabarete, Dominican Republic" and you'll find links for "windsurfing," "kiteboarding," and an "eco-sensitive beach front boutique hotel." Venture beyond Cabarete's resorts and you'll find a real city with real people, most of whom will never have the means to enjoy those luxuries. Dominicans and Haitian-Dominicans live in separate communities in and around the area's sugar plantations, where they find work as cane cutters. Tensions exist between the groups—over housing, labor, and a number of other social problems that accompany economic hardship—and the area can be a object lesson in wealth disparity.

"One takeaway was just how relative everyone's situation is," says the photographer Youngna Park, whose visions of off-season sugar cane workers offer a glimpse of everyday plantation life. "What often attracts image making is tragedy, like we saw with Haiti. I was here to witness these people's normal lives, and the living conditions still seem jarring, so it was certainly an education in relative wealth."

What follows is a selection from Youngna Park's "Off Season Sugar Cane Workers."
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Picture Show: Off Season Sugar Cane Workers