Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Iris Rising: From Harlem to Haiti

The Iris Photo Collective Visual Lab will host their final “Speaker Series” for the year from “Harlem to Haiti” a presentation of film, fundraising, music and dialogue. As part of the finale of a very successful 10-week outreach program, IPC will be screening Haitian-American filmmaker, Rachelle Salnave-Gardner’s film 'Harlem’s Mart 125: The American Dream,' a documentary about the gentrification of Harlem. Part of the proceeds will be going towards the funding of her new film project about the Haitian experience called 'La Belle Vie: The Good Life.'

About IPC Visual Speaker Series:
Iris Photo Collective Visual Lab is a partnership among Iris Foundation, Iris Photo Collective, and the Little Haiti Cultural Center. A ten-week program that explores storytelling in the classical vain of photojournalism, its main target audiences are both children and adults who are engaged and interested in enhancing their knowledge of the visual language of photojournalism. Through collaborative exercises, discussions, critiques, and lectures, students will develop the skills necessary to reveal a strong photographic narrative using their own visual voice. The Speaker Series is a semi-monthly discussion of Industry professional's and visionaries that share their experiences as a means of mentorship and inspiration to the students.

Rachelle Salnave-Gardner
A Harlem native of Haitian decent, who graduated from Hunter College while attaining a Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Film Production, Salnave-Gardner created two films, "Unforgiven Sins" and "Mistijah" while she attended the University of Miami. "Unforgiven" was chosen out of thirty undergraduate projects as part of the selection of works to participate in the University of Miami Film Festival.

IPC Visual Lab Please join IPC Visual Lab in celebrating and acknowledging the work of Rachelle Salnave, the Hatian-American filmmaker. See her latest documentary 'Harlem's Mart 125: The American Dream. Get to be the first to get a sneak peek of her upcoming film 'La Belle Vie: The Good Life', a documentary about the Haitian experience. Cocktails will be served 6pm - 6:45pm, screening and Q&A 7pm-9:00pm. A suggested $15 donation is deeply appreciated. This event is part of a fundraiser to complete the film 'La Belle Vie: The Good Life. It is an evening of good intelligent conversation, music, and film. So don't miss it. Please RSVP by emailing See you there.

Watch on Youtube a promo regarding Rachelle Salnave-Gardner's Miami appearance at this link.

For more information, please contact:
Rachelle Salnave-Gardner
Soulfood Films, LLC

Friday, November 12, 2010

Carl Juste speaks to students at his Alma Mater

Miami, FL…November 12, 2010…Award-Winning, Miami Herald Photojournalist Carl Juste paid a surprise visit to Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School’s newest fine arts class – ‘Introduction to Photography.’ Juste, an ACND alumnus, always welcomes any opportunity to visit students, share his experiences and inspire them to create their own works of art. In the past, he has served as a guest lecturer at one of the school’s summer fine arts programs.

The new photography class introduces its students to the basics of photography as an art form, apart from the simple fact of learning how to record a moment. The intent of the class is produce photos as art pieces that cause an effect in its viewers. Using modern digital formats and editing tools and software, the students enhance their images to obtain satisfactory results and show more control of the final image. The assignments range from self-portraits to architectural landscapes, and from fashion to product photography. Students use the Canon 50D Digital SLR, and the Adobe creative suite CS2.

Carl Juste invited the students to attend his upcoming Conversation/Exhibit event to be held on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at the school’s ACND Gallery of Art. Juste along with Andre Chung of the Iris PhotoCollective will present, “Invictus: Haiti Unconquered” - a collection of 30x40, black and white photographs depicting some of their work in Haiti covering the January 2010 earthquake and its aftermath. Photography and poetry merge as the William Ernest Henley reference parallels the exhibit’s dramatic and compelling array of images. Carl Juste will also speak to guests about photojournalism as a career, the power of visual storytelling, and his experiences in Haiti.

Juste opened his remarks to the students by asking them if they had ever read Henley’s famous poem. Although many were familiar with the recent movie “Invictus,” few knew the movie’s title came from the poem. After a student read it to the class, Juste talked about his work in Haiti this past year. Although deeply moved while recalling his experiences, he tried to remain positive for the students (a few are of Haitian descent.) He assures them, “You can’t give up just because many people before you have given up.”

Course instructor Yunier Cervino Oliver remarks, “It was a pleasure having Carl Juste in class today. Carl is an extraordinary person and never fails to move me, with the depth of his words.” Oliver also teaches Art 2D, and Drawing and Painting 1 and 2. As a professional artist specializing in painting, graphic design, comics, and medical and architectural illustration, he has successfully inspired his students to produce outstanding works in a variety of mediums. He likes to display their work throughout the school, but also posts them on a class blog so that students can view their peers’ work online. ACND is one of only three Catholic High Schools that offer photography instruction as a separate class.

Juste closed his talk by encouraging the students to understand that photography is a powerful medium that really needs people to understand its power. He says, “It doesn’t need all of you – it just needs one.” Juste’s goal, however, is to help many people understand the power of visual storytelling. Students, professionals, and any members of the community who support the visual arts and wish to share ideas that will help inspire and motivate aspiring photographers should plan to attend his December 4th event.

“Invictus: Haiti Unconquered” – A Community Conversation Exhibit Event

Saturday, December 4, 2010

6:00-9:00 p.m.

Free and open to the community and media. Pre-registration is encouraged by emailing

ACND Gallery of Art

Located in the 6-7-8 Brother Rice Honors Academy on the grounds of Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School, 4949 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33137 Phone: (305) 751-8367

Exhibit opens November 13, 2010

Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or other times by appointment

To view more works visit

Friday, September 10, 2010

IRIS RISING: IPC Visual Lab Fall Course and Showcase

Last spring, thirteen students participated in the IPC Visual Lab, ten-week program, housed at the Little Haiti Cultural Center.

For the next two weeks, the students’ work will be showcased alongside renowned photojournalists Carl Juste, and CW Griffin, of the Miami Herald; and Jeffery A. Salter and André Chung, co-founder of Iris PhotoCollective along with Juste, in the Little Haiti Cultural Center gallery. After which, it will adorn the lobby of the LHCC Performing Arts corridor, until December.

As an added feature, student Sinhue Vega will premiere his new piece ‘When We Were Kings.’ Vega, who attended the course, merged traditional painting and photography in this original work.

WHO: IPC Visual Lab & Little Haiti Cultural Center

WHAT: IPC Visual Lab Fall Exhibit

WHEN: Friday, September 10th - 20th, 2010

WHERE: Little Haiti Cultural Center
212-260 NE 59th Terrace Miami, Fl

Little Haiti Cultural Center visitor, Jorg Nowak, quietly tours the IPC Visual Lab Fall Exhibition the day after the opening night.

What an amazing weekend! Our first exhibition. The gallery is opened 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Meet several students in the program and sample some of their work.

Ethan Bitton, IPC 200
Miami Arts Charter School, 16

The way that I was introduced into photography was by my parents asking to make a photo of them when I was young with a point and shoot camera. When they looked at the photo, they where astonished by the result. I had found an old digital camera in the garage of my old house and started to take photos every day. At my previous school, North Beach Elementary, the students had show every morning. It was called the 'Mornings Announcements.'

When I was in sixth grade I was asked if I could help film the show by a teacher and I said 'yes.' From that experience, I learned how to aim the camera at a certain angle and other things, like to never have the subject in the middle of the screen. At the end of the year I had received an award for the best cinematographer. Then my dad brought a Nikon D40 camera. With it, I entered into a hole other world.

At eighth grade I went to an art school called Miami Arts Charter School,'MAC'for short. On the weekends I attended IPC Visual Lab and that changed my life forever. I learned so much and from my instructors. I admire them for their wisdom and their talents.

Due to IPC Visual Lab, I see things with a different eye. There are photos to make all over the place and that I had never noticed. Because of this class I am starting to see images more frequently. I learned about angles, framing the subject, Rembrandt light, open shadow, raccoon eyes also main lighting, rim light, back light, and flash. I learned how to hold the camera the proper way - instead of holding the lens of the camera on top I hold it from the bottom. The best thing that I learned was how to make a good portrait. Before this class, I use to hate making portraits of people. And now, I can finally make pictures of people with no problem.

North Miami Beach, Florida 2010
Ethan Bitton, student


When I sit back and consider the significant events in my past, the important aspects of my present life, and my future goals, the underlying theme is always the constant appreciation of each day of my life. My family and friends, the beauty of this planet, and the diversity of my community always come into play. Photography has allowed me to capture sweet memories all along but, I now find myself wishing to create artistic expressions for these future memories. It has been a dream for me to study under a great photography master and the opportunity to be a student in Carl Juste’s class was, in reality, beyond my expectations. Thanks to the generosity of my sponsor, Sinuhe Vega, that dream has come true.

I was born and raised in Habana, Cuba, the product of a father with roots in France and a mother of Spanish/Canarian ancestry. I attended grade school and High School in New York City where my parents moved shortly after Fidel Castro’s rise to power in order to escape the evils of Cuba’s communism for a better life in America.

I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree in Professional Administration
from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. My professional background relates to marketing, advertising, graphic design, and the media. I am employed by The Miami Herald Media Company as Presentations Manager for the Advertising Division. In that role, I manage the process of creating specialized presentations for our sales staff and develop media strategies against the newspaper offerings to drive response from their customers. Our proposals must include sound content and high impact graphics. It is for this reason, that I keep my camera handy at all times.

I have a wonderful family, a son and a grandson who often become my modeling subjects. When not working, I love to go shoot with friends, read, exercise and anything that will allow me to learn something new and grow wiser than the previous day.

Studying photography under IPC Visual Lab has allowed me to gain a better understanding of the effect of light on my images. As well, I have learned important factors for shooting different occasions and key creative ideas that I have been able to put to use already.

#38 “Portrait of Briana”, Miami, Florida 2010
Jenny Babot Romney, student

Photographed in natural light. For this work, it was important to select the right time of day since the color of sunlight changes favorably in the early morning and late afternoon. I positioned the subject in a favorable spot and a series of photographs were taken by varying the angle of the camera and utilizing a reflector to bounce the light into her face. Having the subject look directly into the lens will often create a more approachable portrait.

Jerry Vallias-Jean, IPC 100

I was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on December 08,1972; I am the middle son of Raymond and Mimose Vallias-Jean. My parents were very hard working people and raised my brothers and me in a much disciplined way. It was from there that I learned much of my character that helps me become the person that I am. After leaving high school at 17, I enrolled to law school but unfortunately due to political events in Haiti I was forced to leave and migrated to the United States.

I arrived in Miami in December 1993 with the intention of returning to Haiti the following year. However, the situation worsened and I had to make the decision of starting a new life in Miami. After getting a job at a computer store, I quickly realized that I loved and enjoyed working with technology. I enrolled at Miami-Dade Community College in the Information System Associate Degree program and transferred to Barry University where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and currently, I am enrolled in the Biomedical Informatics Degree at Nova Southeastern University.

At the present time I am working for Miami-Dade County Public Schools as computer liaison at an elementary school. Some of my duties are to facilitate the training of the employees on new applications that will be used at the school and, work with the County’s School District Technology Department to determine which software applications will be used to assist students. I also assist in the use of software applications and other aspects of the Internet in support of student/curriculum needs, maintain and manage the school’s Electronic Gradebook Application and responsible for the school’s Dell Techknow Program. One of my proudest accomplishments is being recognized by my school for implementing the “Dell Techknow” program, which teaches technology to elementary students. Further accomplishments were my nomination as “Rookie Teacher of the year” in 2007 and my recognition by the City of North Miami Police Department for a toy drive in 2007.

#7 “Steel of Flight”. Miami, Florida, 2010
JerryVallias-Jean, student

A piece of art stretches upward soaring over its grounded base.

Sinuhe Vega, IPC200

The notion "When We Were Kings" stems from the nostalgia of all those who come from a place to which they cannot return. I come from such a place, and like many, we glorified it as the most beautiful site on earth. I grew up listening to my relatives dismissing their surroundings, poor substitutes for the old county. To them everything was better back home: the reds more red, the birds more melodic, the flavors richer.

The longer I live in America, the more distant and blurred my homeland becomes. My delusions and embellished memories, where I find refuge, became the backdrop of this series. I took an imaginary country and turned it into a magical place, a land fit for kings, where monarchs are exiled into their glorious memories. To this land, they come to rest and to remember all they have lost.

"When We Were Kings" consists of a multi-medium, layered process. First I build large-scale stages depicting enchanted landscapes, where I bring adorned monarchs to be photographed. Like a court painter, I enshrine them, while trying to capture the narratives of their new lives. Then, I follow with the brute, human effort to reflect on canvas or paper the moments I witnessed through the photographic lens. Through this barbaric attempt to mold paint, manipulate, and displace the images, I strive to give the subjects a sense of rootedness and to humanize them.

At the same time, the series is also about the artistic process, which many consider more important than the final work, and which the public is rarely privy to. From scenography to photography, from photo to painting, and from painting to animation, the dialogue between mediums fuels, enriches, and stitches the layers of these characters and their stories. I see myself not as the author nor the narrator of this tale, but as a journalist documenting the creative process of the artist and the lives of majestic individuals, so that in the future, if and when they return to their promised land, they can have testaments of what they lived.

"Self Portrait of King Vega",
Miami, Florida
Sinuhe Vega, student

Thursday, April 29, 2010

University of Southern Mississippi Photojournalism Workshop Completed

This video produced by David Jackson highlights the last Iris photojournalism workshop at Southern Miss. David was one of the original students at the first of these workshops. He and fellow workshop alum, Eli Baylis were invaluable assistants during the course.

To see the completed work of all the participants you can visit the Southern Miss Photojournalism Project website.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

University of Southern Mississippi Photojournalism Workshop

The photo essays from the University of Southern Mississippi Photojournalism workshop are now online. Please take a moment to view this work by our dedicated high school and college photojournalists.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Iris Rising: Southern Mississippi Photojournalism Workshop 2010

Adreain Jean Reynolds , 18, Bruce, MS, 12th grade, Bruce High School

Have you ever wanted something so bad you can feel it at the tip of your fingers? Right there just an inch out of reach, gripping at your heart like it belongs to no one but you, designed distinctly for one purpose and one purpose alone- to fulfill your utmost desire, to leave you with a feeling of self satisfaction, and most of all to help you reach a higher wisdom. Have you ever worked at something so diligently and faithfully that when the work is done no one can destroy your circle of joy and happiness? When I first came to Hattiesburg I was skeptical about EVERYTHING... Maybe I wasn't the one for this opportunity, maybe I have gotten myself into something I can't handle! However, at the end of Saturday, I knew this was it! I had found my closure. The feeling I had was immeasurable. I MAKE photos now! On my way to Hattiesburg I got my own camera out to take some pictures, after a while I gave up. My mother said," Adreain you wanted to take pictures, but there is nothing to take." That moment, I agreed but now as I leave with a lot more sense of knowing, I knew its not about what's out there is about what I MAKE!!

Ross Scarbrough 17 carries the stray dog back to his kennel at Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg, MS, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010. (Photo/Adreain Reynolds)

Shayan Asadi, 16, Columbus, MS, 11th grade, Heritage Academy

I have been interested in photography since I received my first camera in second grade, becoming serious in the past two years. The USM photojournalism workshop has made me a new person. I no longer see in the same light or think in the same way. I experienced things I found unimaginable before the workshop. The oppurtunity to work with such highly esteemed photojournalists, itself, was amazing. However, it was my assignment, Dynasty Hair Design, that has made the greatest difference. I was very reluctant going into my assignment thinking I would have to photograph someone I did not know. Little did I know that there was more to the assignment than simply photographing someone. Being the only white person there, I was very intimidated. Everyone in the barber shop was constantly staring at me. However, I learned that I had to gain everyone’s trust before I could do anything else. After having conversations and sharing laughs with Mrs. Sandra, I started to gain her trust and was able to start taking pictures. I learned that one has to be uncomfortable first in order to become comfortable. The workshop has given me a new motivation, not to take pictures but to make pictures.

Greg Glass cuts a young man's hair as his father waits for his turn. Sandra Wilis's barber shop, Dynasty Hair Design, experiences slow flow of customers due to cold winter weather, in Hattiesburg, MS, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010. (Photo/Shayan Asadi)

Jana Edwards, 19, Freshman, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS

When I first applied for this project, I wasn't really sure what to expect. One thing is for sure, I was not expecting to walk away with the experience and and knowledge that I did. I am quickly learning that the quiet moments captured by a photographer are moments to be respected and treasured. Andre, Carl, Clarence and Pablo were so dedicated to helping us with every aspect of photojournalism. They are amazing photographers and even better people. They taught us so many aspects of photography that I have never even considered. Any questions or concerns that I had, they had the answer and the solution. Photography consists of many different elements. But, when the light hits just right, and the moment is perfect, a photograph is more than all the technical stuff. It becomes a moment of passion that will forever be captured in a single image. I will never forget or take for granted the things I learned while participating in this project and I can only hope that I will one day be half the photographer these guys are.

James Moore, the owner of Moore's Bike Shop and the operator of Moore's Bike Museum, smiles as he reflects the origin of the Schwinn sign behind him in Hattiesburg, MS, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010. (Photo/Jana Edwards)

Please visit to view Andre Chung's latest photo essay entitled "Southern Exposure."