City Soleil : a Melody of Hope

  • Photographer
    Urim Hong
  • Prize
    1st Place / Editorial / Press/Other
  • Jury Top 5 Selection

    Shoun Hill

    Kirk McKoy Simple use of light. Hope, should always spring eternal.

    Vanessa Kramer Hallett I like the portraits combined with the instruments that represent hope and a opportunity for creative expression. The play of shadow and light are well used as tools of the final product.

  • Company/Studios
  • University/School
    Art Center College of Design
  • Date of Photograph
  • Technical Info
    Leica M, 35mm, 1/125, f16, ISO 800

The UN left and the police stations crumbled into ruin. The gangs declared war and the people..they die in the midst of their relentless shoot-outs. The sound of gunfire had become a cruel melody in their ears. Last three years, a small voice in my heart grew louder and wilder: 'Can we talk about hope here?' That is when I heard the gentle whisper, a quiet but sweet melody. It was a melody that resonated through the impenetrable darkness—sound of children calling out for another day, that there will be a better tomorrow. For me, it was indeed a melody of hope.


City Soleil is a small commune in Haiti, amidst war between gangs. People who live in this densely populated area tremble with horror, hearing the sound of gunfire day after day.Three years into photographing this town, the sound of gunshots rang out and this city became occupied by gangs. While COVID-19 was sweeping through the rest of the world, it was not a virus that was the major threat to these people. The carnage of 100 dead people of this city was the direct result of gun shots, not a pandemic.

Sadly, half of the population consists of young people under the age of twenty-five as well as children. To be honest, I could not do much in this situation. After giving it a lot of thought, however, I was able to establish a music academy with an American musician couple. We received as donation variety of musical instruments from all over the world, contacted and cast local music teachers, and created opportunities for the children to learn music. Though it was a small beginning, we were in hope that these learning opportunities will engrave in the lives of children hope and happiness.

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