Picture Show: Off Season Sugar Cane Workers
Google the phrase "Cabarete, Dominican Republic" and you'll find links for "windsurfing," "kiteboarding," and an...
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."