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Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo

Imagine being Christopher Columbus. And after a seemingly endless trip over the Atlantic you finally see a green stretch of land on the horizon. It is the 5th of December in 1492. Columbus discovers, unfortunately for the indigenous tribes, the American Continent. A huge Island he calls Hispaniola.

Ruthless enslavement policy
Centuries later it is split in two, one side being Haiti, the other the Dominican Republic. The indigenous people succumbed fast to the diseases the newcomers brought with them, combined with a rather ruthless enslavement policy. That is a long time ago now and there aren’t many left. Most Dominicans are of mixed blood though.

Santo Domingo is quite a relaxed place

After its independence things got ugly in the D.R. The Trujillo era started, which, although economically had some advantages, is typified as a ruthless regime which lasted thirty years. Nowadays, although politics is still a hot item and very visible in the streets two months before the next elections, Santo Domingo is quite a relaxed place. Strolling around, especially in the Zona Colonial, is delightful. And for a photographer very inspiring.



It’s quiet for a capital and as can be seen in this photo, friends are sitting outside at the end of the day having a talk, a drink or are playing domino. Compared to its problematic neighbor, things look pretty good for the Dominican Republic. 500 years after Columbus set foot on it.

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In the project "Streets of the World", photographer Jeroen Swolfs captures street life in all 205 of the world's capitals. Differences are visible immediately: differences in people, environments, cultures and circumstances. The consequences of wars, natural disasters, and famine are contrasted with luxury, pragmatism, warmth and security. An important similarity captured in each urban image is the portrayal of everyday life. Life abounds everywhere with all its resilience, hope, friendship and perseverance. This is a photography project that not only distinguishes itself in scale, but also through the realistic vision of the photographer and his eye for the global citizen.
Jeroen Swolfs
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