Iris PhotoCollective produces collaborative projects, often in partnership with organizations and non-profits. Most begin with an idea, a place, or a moment in time, and tell human stories founded in the principles of photojournalism.
Cubans and Haitians have flooded into Florida for generations, creating in Miami their eponymous neighborhoods: Little Havana and Little Haiti. Unfortunately, Cubans and Haitians haven’t often come together harmoniously.
Photojournalist Carl-Philipe Juste, born in Haiti to parents with Cuban roots, has always known that Haitian and Cuban cultures have more in common than most people understand.
Havana, Haiti: Two Cultures, One Community brings together dozens of photographs and essays to find not just the places where Cubans and Haitians chafe against each other and American immigration and foreign policy, but where they layer each upon the other, transcending differences. The works cover 14 themes, including religion, labor, love, hope, joy and hunger, and together tell one story — how Cubans and Haitians are the same.
Winner of a 2016 Knight Arts Challenge, the project will include an exhibition, a book, and events with our photographers and writers.
Images (Above L-R): Carl-Phillipe Juste, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2004; Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Havana, Cuba, 2019; Jeffery Salter, Havana, Cuba, 2019
In 2018, the Coral Gables Museum approached Carl Juste to do a documentary project on the Lincoln Memorial Park cemetery in Miami’s historically black Brownsville neighborhood. Lincoln Memorial Park is the burial site of many of the laborers who helped build Coral Gables, one of Miami’s first planned communities, and now one of its most affluent. Lincoln Memorial Park was founded by South Florida’s first black undertaker in 1924 because the bodies of black citizens were being exhumed from smaller cemeteries in Miami in order to make room for white newcomers. Like housing and restaurants and other public and private places in the U.S., cemeteries were segregated at the time.
The Miami Herald had written about the deteriorating conditions at the cemetery — in fact, a piece was published earlier in the year detailing the ways in which the cemetery was being vandalized, including grave desecration — but had never tackled it as a visual storytelling project that more deeply delved into the historical significance of the cemetery and story of its caretakers.
Iris PhotoCollective’s Caretakers project illustrates the systemic racism that has long existed throughout the southern United States, where black lives were often segregated in both life and in death. Carl recruited Leonard Pitts to write an accompanying piece, and videographer Matias J. Ocner to take drone footage. Former Miami Herald staffer C.W. Griffin contributed in both still and video reportage.
Images (Above L-R): Matias J. Ocner, 2018; Carl-Phillipe Juste, 2018; C.W. Griffin, 2018
The exhibition Starting Ahead was assembled in 2017 in collaboration with the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Iris PhotoCollective, The Children’s Movement of Florida and Airport Fine Arts & Cultural Affairs at Miami International Airport. This project examines and documents groundbreaking techniques and best practices in early childhood education.
The exhibition consists of twenty-six images by Iris PhotoCollective collective photographers Carl Juste, André Chung and C.W. Griffin, curated by Yolanda Sanchez, the former director of the Airport Fine Arts & Cultural Affairs at Miami International Airport.
The aim of this project was to put faces and names to these advance early learning initiatives, and document the programs that support early reading which offers extensive health coverage for low-income families and feeding both physical and cognitive development.
Images (Above L-R): André Chung, 2017; Carl-Phillipe Juste, 2017; C.W. Griffin, 2017