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