Thursday, June 11, 2009

Iris Rising: Miami Heart Gallery Opening

Museum-Quality Exhibit of Photographs
Taken by World-Renowned Iris PhotoCollective Photojournalists Open at The Freedom Tower in Miami,Florida

André Chung

MIAMI, FL – June 12, 2009 – For the second consecutive year, The Children’s Trust is spearheading an initiative promoting the adoption of foster children in Miami-Dade County called the The Children’s Trust Miami Heart Gallery. This groundbreaking work in Miami-Dade County seeks adoptive parents for 58 children, and the museum-quality exhibit features portraits of those available for adoption, photographed by some of the world’s top photographers. Based on a national model of other Heart Galleries in cities across the United States, the Miami Heart Gallery captures the unique personality of the children through portraits taken at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Amelia Earhart Park. The photographs will be on exhibit to the public from Saturday, June 13 through Sunday, July 12 at The Freedom Tower, located at 600 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132. The exhibition will be open Tuesdays thru Fridays, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. and on Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and will subsequently travel to different venues throughout Miami-Dade County.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The Children’s Trust Miami Heart Gallery includes a cell-phone-accessible audio component and is complimented by a comprehensive web site,, which highlights the children’s portraits; videos of each child with information about their hobbies, goals and dreams; as well as a video about the making of the exhibit. Photos of the new children being featured will be posted on the Web site in conjunction with the relaunch of the exhibit. Anyone interested in learning more about adopting a foster child should call The Children’s Trust Helpline at 211 or visit

Carl Juste

Iris PhotoCollective photojournalists ( are proud to participate in the Miami Heart Gallery project and hope that we can convey each child's essence, individuality and beauty.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Recession Chronicles: Help Save Newspapers - The Morton Plan

Recession Chronicles: Help Save Newspapers - The Morton Plan
I have had the honor of working with Peter Tobia for several weeks in Pakistan. During that tour we have had countless conversations about photojournalism, world politics, and assorted subjects. During the years we have stayed in touch, and once in a while we have tried to make sense of the changes in our industry. This blog is a product of those conversations and how we can try to illicit positive dialogue that can shed light on our industry's current crisis.

Please join the conversation, check out the plan, and let us get the word out.

Newspapers are not dinosaurs. If you don't believe me, check out the circulation numbers after 9/11, presidential elections and the inauguration, just to mention a few examples. Newspapers are still vibrant and growing in ethnic communities in the U.S., Europe and parts of Latin America. Please leave your comments and ideas and engage in being part of the solution.

Carl Juste, Founder of Iris PhotoCollective

This blog was established to inform journalists of The Morton Plan: the proposal that newspapers charge for the content they produce. It is also a place to stimulate discussion, voice opinions and take an active role in determining the future of newspapers.

The disappearance of ad revenue, a troubled economy, the decline in newspaper circulation, as people move online to get their news, and heavy production and distribution cost of newspapers have put their existence in jeopardy.

Newspapers are not the enemy. Rather they are the source of most of the content that appears on the Web. The “crossing-their-fingers” advertising gamble newspapers hoped would work by giving their content away for free has been a disaster. Search engines along with news websites have turned profits through advertising at the expense of newspapers.

Newspapers publishers have dealt with their financial crisis by closing newspapers, reducing their work force through layoffs and buyouts, losing seasoned journalists who are knowledgeable and who strived for journalism excellence. This approach is like throwing the baby out with the bath water, making newspapers less compelling, less effective and less important to the people who read them.

Now is the time for newspapers to re-evaluate what they are doing and take a lead in determining their future, not only financially but in the concept of a strong press equals a strong democracy.

It goes without saying that newspapers, as we know them, are destined for change, whether they move completely online or adjust in other ways. But in the meantime, the content that is produced by hard work, creative vision, passion and commitment should not be given away for free.

There is power in numbers which can be a catalyst for action that can bring about change.

Communicate John Morton’s Plan to your newsrooms and establish an individual committee to push for your paper to begin charging for content, with July 4th being the target date.

Look for the logo and get behind the plan.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tribute and Tears: Adieu Jean-Juste

It is believed that leaders are not born, but are created. Created by circumstances, events, and immortalize by forces beyond conscience effort. Miami's Haitian community gathered and shared memories of friends, politicians, and comrades as they bid adieu to Haitian leader Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste. His unexpected death at the age of 62 brought a shock wave to all who continue to demand equal treatment and social just for Haitian migrants. Some 3,000 admires and mourners packed the inside of Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic Church while thousands more stood in the rain outside to pay homage to the Roman Catholic priest who went from a little-known figure on a Miami street corner to the central figure in the Haitian civil rights struggle.

Rev. Gerard 'Jeri' Jean-Juste laid the foundation regarding the definition of a leader. Soft spoken, but also a street-fighter with a maverick personality that often transformed to both activist and the master of ceremony with the major goal to bash his enemies and rally against the unfair immigration policies of the US government. His priestly manner and ease with people made him just the right person to lead the Haitian movement in Miami and in his homeland of Haiti. He understood the power of the media and brought awareness to the plight of Haitian refugees. He kept the Haitian plight on the front burner reminding local, national, and international communities of their responsibility in finding justice for Haitians in the US and abroad.

Rev. Jean-Juste, the champion of the poor, did not shy from controversy. In 1980, reported in the Miami Herald, he blasted the Catholic Church in Haiti for recognizing the marriage of Jean-Claude Duvalier and his bride. Called the church a 'prostitute.' He was fired as director of the Haitian Refugee Center for 'ineptitude' and 'erratic and unproductive behavior' in the view of the Christian Community Service Agency. He responded by forming Haitian Refugee Center, Inc., but ideological differences would create problems, forcing him once again to form his own-grass roots political watchdog group, Veye Yo, Creole for 'Watch Them' in 1985.

Rev. Jean-Juste would return back to Haiti for the inauguration of President Jean-Bertrand Aristed (1991), but was arrest in his own parish on weapons charges, and accused of being a 'threat to the public order' in 2004 the year of Aristide's final ouster. A year later, he would be arrested again on charges of murder of journalist/poet Jacque Roche. In 2006 after mounting international pressure from human rights activists, Jean-Juste was finally released from Port-au-Prince jail after serving 192 days. He was diagnosed with leukemia and returned to Miami to seek treatment. In the same year, murder charges against him were dropped, but he still faced weapons possession and conspiracy charges. Those charges were also eventually dropped.

Citing the rosary as his only weapon, Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste understood the sacrifices that had to be made for social justice. From feeding the poor, preaching to the forgotten, and defending the downtrodden, Rev. Jean-Juste has left a legacy that demands the question 'Who among us is best suited to speak on behalf of the poor, the lost, and the forgotten?' Hopefully our lost is heaven's gain, and each of us will be empowered to become leaders in our own right, for the path has been paved only we can choose to walk in his steps.

Please visit the 'Tribute and Tears' gallery at for more photos of Reverend Gerard Jean-Juste's memorial service.

R.I.P 'Jeri', gone but not forgotten.