Photo exhibit to present different view of the world

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Sep. 9, 2011
Contributed
One of Louis Hernandez's featured photos shows a young boy from an orphanage in India. Photo courtesy of Louis Hernandez. - Contributed Photo

Open Solutions, Inc. CEO Louis Hernandez travels extensively around the world for business to places such as India, Brazil, Africa, China and Vietnam. Hernandez, a Glastonbury resident, had already worked with and established charitable foundations and found that, during his trips overseas, he had down-time between business meetings, so he began to explore. What he discovered was that, in some of these underdeveloped areas, people who were struggling with hunger, homelessness and illness were finding ways to survive and overcome obstacles.

“Some of the stories are depressing,” Hernandez said, “but there's a lot of inspiration in what people do.” After taking a crash course in photography from a professional photographer, Hernandez took to photographing and documenting these stories.

He even formed a small photography company – completely funded by himself – with the sole purpose of capturing the inspiring tales. While performing all of the photography himself, Hernandez also employs assistants who help with lighting, travel, security, interviewing and editing.

Guides on Hernandez's expeditions are usually natives of the country, but who often have not ventured into the areas themselves, because of the conditions. “We're always walking into the worst of the worst of these countries,” he said. “We've been everywhere from prisons to orphanages to rice fields.”

Among the many examples, Hernandez found in an impoverished section of Manila, Philippines, where the water was so polluted that some people, despite having little or no money themselves, actually paid others to boil water for them so that laundry could be done. “To have somebody that poor pay somebody else, tells you how tough it is,” he said. “But here's somebody in a very bad situation who is trying to figure out a way to earn income and to better themselves by doing things other people won't do.”

Hernandez said he also learned the story of a woman who was sentenced to death in Pakistan, but was pardoned by a Christian minister. She then converted to Christianity, and opened an orphanage in Mumbai and committed her life to doing good things.
An upcoming photo exhibit will bring some of Hernandez's more than 25,000 images to Connecticut. The Hope-Courage-Triumph Photography Exhibition will be held Oct. 6 at the Design Center Building at 1429 Park St., in Hartford.

The show is also a means of inspiring local people to take stock of their own lives and find ways to help others. “We're telling the stories about the people, who are otherwise in very bad situations, who find the hope and courage to lead a triumphant life,” Hernandez said. “The idea is to inspire people to do more for themselves. If these people can do this, we can all probably find more we can do for each other and our communities.”

Hernandez said he also hopes to shed light on what life is like in other parts of the world. “I think it will be interesting for people to see,” he said. “There are so many things that we worry about on a given day, but it's almost hard to believe that there are so many people living like this every day. Their entire lives will be like this.”

Proceeds from the event will go to the Hope Fund, which Hernandez created to benefit several Connecticut charities, including the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, The Connecticut Science Center, The Glastonbury Education Foundation and other youth programs.

Hernandez said other exhibits are planned for other cities, including New York and Boston.

For more information, contact Kira Rivera at 860-815-5058 or kira.rivera@opensolutions.com.


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