Monday, December 12, 2011

African Diaspora Panel by Jennifer Kay

On Dec. 3, at the peak of Art Basel Miami Beach, a panel of artists, educators and Miami community leaders met at the Little Haiti Cultural Center to discuss African Diaspora art. 
Among the panelists were Iris PhotoCollective’s Carl Juste and Andre Chung. Other panelists at the symposium entitled “Miami Crossroads: Developing the African Diaspora Art Footprint” included Marshall Davis of the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, educator Frank Glover, Miami-Dade County community relations leader Larry Capp, Afro-Cuban artist Jose Orbein, artist Bayunga Kialeuka, artist and educator Gene Tinnie, and Marvin Weeks, an artist and member of the city of Miami’s Arts and Entertainment Council. 
The panel considered how to support artists from the African Diaspora, and how to help them make bigger gains in the art marketplace. To make progress, the panel suggested that artists collaborate to educate the public and art collectors, to promote their work and exhibits, to stage their own expos and gallery shows when art fairs shut them out and to support elected officials who work to support the arts.
One hot topic that invited passionate responses from the audience focused on promoting arts centers and galleries in neighborhoods such as Little Haiti or Overtown, which are challenged by the stigma of crime and poverty. If people are afraid to venture into unfamiliar and stigmatized neighborhoods, what can artists do to promote arts events in those neighborhoods or include those neighborhoods in the local arts scene? Again, the solution seemed to be collaboration, reaching out to local businesses and community leaders to help promote arts facilities and events.
The unifying theme of the symposium was “do-it-yourself.” Artists need to promote their individual brands and network to get the word out about art the large fairs such as Art Basel Miami Beach are missing.
Afterward, Iris PhotoCollective’s Carl Juste gave a tour of the IPC Visual Lab’s “Guerrilla Gallery.” The expo of student work -- curated, printed and hung in just a week in the Little Haiti Cultural Center -- illustrated the do-it-yourself initiative advocated by the panelists. Here’s a link to the video: 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Preparing for Concert Photography: Sacha Suarez

I recently received an amazing opportunity to shoot a concert for my company’s site and I was so excited I did not realize the minor details that make or break the assignment.  My purpose was to capture the concert for the fans for my company’s site  to view.   I will walk you through my challenges, my learning’s and finally the outcome.  A couple of challenges I faced were the following:

·                                    •  Access: Distance for stage to properly prepare for the lens    
·                                    •  Equipment: Unfamiliar camera with not tripod

      Access is a big unknown in most of these concerts but if you have experience it helps to know what to look for.This concert was unique in that there was three different artists playing and so I had three different opportunities to go and shoot.  The rules for the press was the first 2 songs for each artist so time was limited and taking the most shots in the short time frame was my goal.  They placed the press in the most distance space possible, behind the sound engineers which is usually in the middle of the center stage.  My lens went up to 200 – 300 and it was just fine.  I setup my camera manually with a high ISO and manually focused which I felt more in control.   Lighting on these stages is amazing and when you capture the wide shot, the set design really kicks in. 

      I tried to capture the essence of each artists by shooting their expressions, body language and overall stage design.  Capturing the tight shot and the wide shot tells the story and captures the feeling of the moment. 


      For example, on top one performer was in action while the other was connecting with the audience.  Another challenge I faced and overcame was that one of the camera’s I used was borrowed and so unfamiliar territory.  I setup the camera as best I knew with an assumed distance and lighting of a typical concert (high ISO and shutter speed greater than 250) and a low F-stop and once we were placed in our assigned Press Area it was very difficult to change the settings in the dark with a camera I was not familiar with.  Solution:  I just shot away for the first song and based on my knowledge it should be right with the lighting and distance and during the second song, I changed the lens to my second camera, in which I was very familiar with.   Once I changed cameras,  this allowed me to view the pictures I had taken to tweak any settings on the spot.  Another challenge with equipment was no tripod.  I saw all the other press representatives with tripods and said to myself “oh boy”.  

      At this point in time, I just held the camera as firm as possible and shot away. The result was just fine.  It would have been more comfortable with the tripod and also may have gotten some more focused shots, however; the downside is that it also takes longer to setup as I saw the other photographers go through.  I learned it was a matter of choice and next time I will bring a tripod that is portable and easy to assemble and disassemble.