Interview with Jess Koehler {La Source, Haiti)

As a photographer I am constantly inspired by the work of other photographers.  Sometimes it is their images that inspire, other times their success, often times their creativeity as an artist, but more often then not I am inspired by photographers who tell the stories the world truly needs to hear.  Who risk their livlihood in order to amplify the voices of the unheard.  This has always been a deep passion and heart’s desire for Kevin and I so we celebrate those artists who surrender their craft for a greater purpose.

Last year we were acquainted with Jess Koehler at a artisans retreat called Terra Nova.  Each year artists are invited to come.make.believe. and be spurred on to use their unique gifts towards the greater good.  At the time Kevin and I were still active in the construction business, slowly making our transition out.  We had come up with a proposal we shared in front of 100’s of artists and entrepreneurs of how we envisioned using or business as a catalyst for change.  After the gathering Jess was the first to approach me with her card enlisting her services to help in whatever way she could.  I was so touched by her generosity and immediately began to cry.  Several months went by and on a whim I decided to contact Jess.  Our photography business had began to pick up steam and I desperately wanted to spread my wings.  Jess and I sat over a delicious dinner and discussed our passions, our desires, and fears all at once.  I was blessed by her humility and authentic spirit.  From that day on we have been bosom buds, creative collaborators.  We have been each others supporters, and fans.

Recently Jess was asked to take a journey she only dreamed of.  One that I hope you will take the time to read about and journey with.  I have chosen to interview jess in order for her to share (in her own words) where this journey has taken her and how all of us can collaborate with her.  Please Read along as my friend shares her heart and her story:

Our journey to La Source takes us on an adventure as the Lajeunesse Brothers work together to rally the support of a group of Princeton students, a Los Angeles-based charity called Generosity Water, and the people of La Source to fulfill their late father’s dream to improve the conditions of their impoverished village. “La Source” is not just a movie about the transformation that occurs in a community when provided the most basic commodity of all but the story of two brothers empowered by a vision and how they were able to ignite the passion of people thousands of miles away to change the lives of the people in La Source forever. Where water runs, life flows.

As the still photographer hired for this project, it was really a perfect match for me as an artist and the mission of my company, Curiosity Saved the Human. The company developed as I was allowing myself more freedom to explore my curiosity of the world and its different cultures outside of the United States. Through this journey, a new clarity of how to use my gift in visual storytelling evolved. Business is growing and I’m happily working my butt off. Ha!

Jess, In your opinion, how is the progress in Haiti since the devastating earthquake?

Ya know, this is not something easy to measure. My first trip there was in March 2010 and by then the communities and AID had been able to remove the bodies from the streets. I’m sure for the civilians alone that it felt like progress. The visual and emotional weight of that must have been quite heavy for these families. The level of physical destruction during that time was still really significant. The airport was logistically chaotic, rubble and garbage filling the streets and surrounding areas. Granted, there are certain aspects to this that are considered ‘normal’ to these people. But it was obvious that this was far beyond their normal way of life.

With a total of four trips up until July 2010, I really did see small steps of progress each time. Bulldozers, dump trucks, & construction workers have all been clearing the paths for transportation ease and moving into the next phase of rebuilding.

In my opinion, the Haitians did seem to take ownership of this within their own neighborhoods as well. By the time our project was completed, it did seem as if a portion of tent cities had been evacuated and those people were able to move back into their homes.

Please tell us, what is La Source?

La Source is actually two things. The first is that it’s the name of this documentary that was described more in the opening paragraph. The ironic second meaning of La Source is that it’s the actual name of this village in Haiti. With an estimated population of 3,000 it just had too many wonderful connections not to name the film that as well.

Just how did you get involved with this project?

I would say, the good Lord listening to my heart’s desire & the network of a friend that knew the director. He recommended me, we had a phone meeting, totally ‘jived’, he picked me out of about 4 other prospects, and we flew!

What has been one of the moments you have witnessed while on this journey that has left the biggest impact?

On the first trip there, we were able to get more extensive interaction within one of the nearby tent cities that our partnering NGO was serving. As the film crew was taping some of the families in an interview, my curiosity spiked so I started wandering around. It felt a little weird to be looking inside these tarp tents, but I really wanted to know as much about the reality of their lives as I could in that moment. I slowly started peeking through areas and without being too invasive; I popped my head into one ‘home’ and was in awe of how they had developed their area. A little boy lay half naked on a bed within an area filled with everyday household belongings and furniture. I was kind of in shock of how they literally moved the guts of their homes out into this open soccer field under a bunch of leaky tarps.

No one was with me during that time. As I stood there, I definitely felt a wave in emotional reality of this situation.

I am sure in the process there were so many lives you were touched by, stories that were shared with you, and connections made; was there one person that you deeply connected with?  Can you share with us a bit of your time together?

The most important part of this project was the new water system. That is complete and its been such a blessing for that community. So we are definitely celebrating that aspect. As far as the film, the crew is in postproduction, currently the editing stage and soon shopping to investors.  The trailer has been released, a highly successful Kickstarter campaign was launched, and the trailer was featured on Hulu for multiple days.

Right now, its all about completing the film so we can share it with people like you. Its a pretty stinkin exciting time.

How can others become involved?

Great question! The social media aspect is huge. I really value the word of mouth promotion, especially when its so easy to speak about something you believe in.


  1. Bookmark the website:
  2. Follow us on Twitter here.
  3. Join the Facebook Movement here.
  4. Commit to seeing the film with a friend when it screens.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, are there any other personal thoughts or images you wish to share…

Here are just a couple extra images that I love because they represent man and woman alike, coming together to serve their community as they dug the line for the water pipes.

It is a privlage to call Jess a friend!  Her heart for humanity is so big and her curious apetite is what lead her heart to serve huamanity.  Thank you for taking the time to share in her journey.  I hope that you will find some small way to contribute to this cause.

To learn more about Jess and view her recent projects visit her blog at

Cheers &Peace to you all,