In February 2018, I spent several mornings at the Aérogare Guy Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, making portraits of young Haitians who stood in long lines, hoping to migrate to Chile, before the Chilean government’s crackdown on travel visas in April. Many of these young, educated individuals had saved at least $1,000 USD for the flight, and several hundred dollars more to pay a travel agent.
But flights were consistently overbooked, and many hopefuls were forced to return to the airport several times before they were able to board a plane. A successful departure was only the first step: while some knew of a family member or friend to meet on arrival in Chile, many were without a clear vision for the weeks and months ahead. Most said they wished to pursue work or higher education, then return to their beloved Haiti. The mind reels to imagine the challenges, and possibilities, of their time away from home.
Bess Adler is a photojournalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her photography has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Digital, The New Yorker, AARP, Narrative.ly, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and Marie Claire Australia, among other publications. Her work has primarily focused on communities affected by deportation and incarceration, industries based on body image and alternative family dynamics.