“Like honest acting, there’s nothing better than an honest picture,” says Aaron Eckhart. “And everyone in these photos are all real people and real life—that’s why I cherish these images.”
Eckhart recently took a trip to the Dominican Republic on behalf of AmeriCares, a U.S.-based humanitarian aid organization that specializes in the distribution of medical supplies and quality treatment in disaster areas. “I found out about them through Jennifer Aniston,” Eckhart recalls. “She was doing a fundraiser and I happened to be in the building. They told me what they did and I said, ‘What do you need me to do? I’ll go wherever you send me, and I’ll take pictures and maybe do a show or magazines–maybe make a book someday over the course of the year–whatever you need me to do.”
Eckhart’s Dominican Republic images were all taken in the summer of 2011, over three days in various hospitals and clinics. “We visited cancer units, HIV units, children’s units and old folks homes,” Eckhart says. “These images may look sad or grim to some people, but they’re not. When I was there, I saw happiness and hope. I think these images reflect the reality of people’s lives, but what’s captured is all beautiful to me.”
And, apparently, eye-pleasing to fellow photography buffs. Several of these Dominican Republic images were auctioned off to the public by AmeriCares for thousands of dollars apiece. (“Somebody took pity on me,” says Eckhart.)
In the slideshow above, Eckhart takes us through his selection of favorite photographs–and the compelling stories behind them.