Last Chance to See ‘Sobier Photo Project’ at Library

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Images from local photographer Ed Olen’s “Sobier Photo Project,” on display at the Newport Beach Public Library until Sept. 6.
— Photos by Ed Olen/courtesy NBPL

This is the last week to view the “Sobier Photo Project” gallery by local photographer Ed Olen at the central branch of the Newport Beach Public Library.

Presented by the Newport Beach City Arts Commission, the exhibition will be on display during regular library operating hours until Sept. 6.

Olen has traveled to Haiti with The Heart of Hollywood Foundation on yearly mission trips since 2012, library officials explained in a press release about the project.

For the past three years the organization has focused on the village of Sobier, which was particularly devastated by the 2010 earthquake. Olen always photographs his trips, but recently he decided to try something new, the message reads. With the help of strategic and handmade props, Olen juxtaposes a culture of wealth against a community of need.

“It’s the village that is being overlooked,” Olen said in a prepared statement. “So, I decided to do this series to bring attention to them.”

Olen captures the unique personalities of his subjects, creating striking images that demand attention and evoke reaction.

“This village is among the most ravaged we’ve seen in Haiti,” he said. “It’s third world poverty 75 minutes from Miami.”

The Heart of Hollywood Foundation has begun construction on a clinic for the community, projected to be completed this spring.

“Now we want to focus on a well for fresh water because it’s a two-hour plus round-trip for them to get fresh water every day,” Olen added in the press release.

Olen spent 10 years shooting food and fashion for local luxury lifestyle publication, Coast Magazine, and currently freelances in the greater Orange County and Los Angeles areas.

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