GERALD BLONCOURT : 1926-2018, who after being expelled from Haiti for his role in  antigovernment protests in 1946, went to Paris and-

Turned his zeal for social justice into photography and that captured the humanity of immigration and factory workers, died on Oct 29 in Paris. He was 91.

Mr. Bloncourt's passion for chronicling everyday dignity of exploited peoples found a particular focus in Portuguese emigres who had fled authoritarian rule and conscription to seeks jobs and in construction and factories in postwar France.

For several years, he followed them, on foot and by train, from their villages to makeshift slums outside Paris, where their odysseys ended in renewed hardships in a foreign land.

''I wanted to use my photos as a weapon in hopes to change the world,'  he said in Paris in 2013 at an exhibition of his photographs at the Palais la Porte Doree.

An immigrant following other immigrants,

Mr. Bloncourt showed people in the Pyrenees on their journeys to France and people in the ankle-deep mud of shantytowns and suburbs of Paris like Champaigny-sur-Marne.

Children stare at his camera from behind chicken chicken wire in front of their shacks. A toddler sleeps in a train car leaving Lisbon. One man gives another haircut on a rocky road in Champigny.

The culmination of  Mr. Bloncourt's Portuguese work came in 1974, during the so-called Carnation Revolution, when the country's fascist regime was ousted in a nearly bloodless military coup that soon led to democratic rule.

On his blog, Mr. Bloncourt recalled the thrill of arriving in Lisbon within days of the ouster of prime Minister Marcelo Caetano :

'' Everything was to photograph! The laughter, the tears, the flowers with guns, the meetings between prisoners and freshly released!''

The World Students Society thanks author and researcher Richard Sandomir.


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