Wednesday, December 31, 2014

PHOTOS OF THE YEAR: Miami Herald Staff Photographers

Miami Herald staff photographers were asked to submit the image from the past year that meant the most to them, and to share their thoughts about why it mattered.

Pamela Rauseo, 37, performs CPR on her nephew, 5-month-old Sebastian de la Cruz, after pulling her SUV over on the side along the west bound lane on Florida State Road 836 just east of 57th Avenue when Sebastian stopped breathing. At right is Lucila Godoy, who stopped her car to assist in the rescue. A still photograph can change the course of history, affect policy, raise awareness and cause leaders to act. And, in this case, maybe it can inspire others to become trained in CPR techniques — and to swiftly offer their assistance.

On the evening of October 22, 2013, in Inglis, Fl., Stacy Molinelli and her son, launch a heart-shaped paper latern during a small memorial service to remember her 5-year-old granddaughter, Ashton Arnold, on the one year anniversary of the child's death. Ashton's mother, Elizabeth Rydbom, Molinelli's daughter, was charged with child neglect in Ashton's death and is serving time in jail. Molinelli blames DCF for her granddaughter's death.

This photo of a little boy taken in January on Ile de la Tortue, an island off the northwest coast of Haiti, appeals to me because it tries to capture light and shadow — and the dichotomy of modern Haiti — in a 4-year-old child's face. Emerson Opstaint lost his father at sea after Remy Opstaint sailed from Ile de la Tortue to seek a better life for his family. He was among hundreds who risked deadly sea voyages this year from the island. Gorgeous and desolate, the rustic island's sun-bleached shores are strewn with the skeletons of wooden sailboats. Looking back on 2014, a year that ended with my mother's death, this photo means even more to me. She believed that children were the world's most precious natural resource — and hope for the future. That's what I see in Emerson's face.

This photo was taken at the Miami Dolphins game during which the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Fins at Sun Life Stadium. It’s one of those photos where the image matched not only the outcome of the game (one of our stories stated “the Miami defense was run over”) but the moment was also shown on ESPN Sports Center highlights segment.

“Winning Is Not Everything” — Orlando resident Mohannad Abuzant, 24, lifts his 5 month-old son, Mazem, as he and other tri-athletes cross the finish line. About 2,500 athletes participated in 2014 Life Time South Beach Triathlon as they swam, biked and ran through the sun and sand of South Beach on April 6. The race helped raise funds to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Victory is not always measured in terms of 1st Place, but in remembering the reason you competed in the first place. It was amazing how that thought transformed visually.

Chad Smith takes a head-first tumble during the bull riding competition at the 65th Homestead Championship Rodeo on January 25. This event in Homestead took me out of Miami, and into an area of Dade County that reminded me of the early years when I got started in photography. I was only 16 when I shot my first rodeo.

This wrenching photo assignment was for the sentencing of a man found guilty of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving a death. I teared up as I photographed the sister, mother and stepfather of 13-year-old Kaely Camacho — killed in a horrific crash when Sandor Guillen plowed his SUV into the Camacho family minivan in 2012. In Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer's courtroom on June 6, I snapped the shutter as family members and supporters wept as they listened to a recording of the 911 call made by Kaely's big sister, Bree Ann Camacho, right.

Every day it seems like tragedy hits the streets of South Florida. A woman is restrained by Miami-Dade police officers in the 2400 block of NW 90th Street from entering the crime scene area where another woman was murdered. The impact of crime stretches miles past the “crime scene tape.” We hear of these horrible events sometimes not realizing how crime affects families, friends, neighbors, community and society. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

BEST BUY® Digital Photography Workshop with Al Diaz


Hi friends, how often do you get to see me at work AND learn something too? Sign up for a free #photoworkshop at @BestBuy and you will! I'll be teaching every Sunday this  January 4, 11, 18, 25 at Dadeland North,
 8450 S Dixie Hwy. Miami, FL 33143


With hands-on, professional-style training in portraits, close-ups and action shots, 
this workshop will give you the basic tips and tricks you need to capture life's 
important moments, perfectly.


Leica Lounge with Al Diaz | Thurs, April 2, 2015 | 7pm - 8:30pm Free Event
372 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134
(305) 921-4433

Thursday, December 18, 2014

PHOTOS: Protesters in Miami React to U.S. - Cuba Policy Shift

Lazaro Lozano, center, protests against President Obama's decision to normalize relations between Cuba and the United States while at Versailles Restaurant on Calle Ocho in Miami on Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

Isae Ramon Castellanos protests at Versaille's Restaurant in Miami.

An unidentified woman argues with Bryan Medina regarding Medina's congratulatory sign outside Versaille's Restaurant.

Abdel Rodriguez protests at Versaille's Restaurant in Miami. 

Leandro Seoane, wearing an Obama t-shirt, has a heated debate with about US Cuba relations outside Versaille's Restaurant in Miami.

Yasel Benitez, left, has a heated debate with President Obama supporter Leandro Seoane, at right, at Versaille's Restaurant  
President Obama supporter Leandro Seoane, at left,  has a heated discussion with Enna Martin at Versaille's Restaurant. 
President Obama supporter Peter Bell debates with anti Obama demonstrators at Versaille's Restaurant. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014



In February, Think Tank Photo will release the most travel friendly, comfortable, and reasonably priced backpack for users of DJI Phantom 2, Phantom 2 Vision or other similar sized drones. The Airport Helipak will easily hold a drone plus a 15" laptop, controller, GoPros®, WiFi range extender, charger, spare rotors, extra batteries, and a Delvcam Camera-Top 7" HDMI LCD Monitor, while still complying with airline carry-on size requirements.

Airport HelipakMovable dividers allow users to customize the fit of their gear in this fully featured backpack. The contoured adjustable harness with lumbar support and articulated air-channel, the adjustable sternum strap, and the removable padded waistbelt allow for extreme comfort, even while trekking by foot or mountain bike into remote areas

  • The custom divider set, designed specifically for the DJI Phantom series, allows you to reconfigure your bag
  • International and domestic carry-on size compatible (check with your airline carrier for carry on requirements)
  • Dedicated 15" laptop pocket
  • Protective rotor thread caps included
  • Internal see-through mesh pockets for small accessories: rotor blades, screwdriver, and cables
  • Deluxe organizer for smart phone, wallet, pens, keys, and business cards
  • Water bottle pocket on side
  • Height adjustable sternum strap
  • Elastic pockets on shoulder strap for phone, energy bar, GU pack, and more
  • Robust handles on three sides ensure rapid and easy retrieval from overhead bins and car trunks

Exterior Dimensions: 14" W x 20.5" H x 9" D (35.6 × 52.1 × 22.9cm)
Interior Dimensions: 13" W x 18.8" H x 7.6" D (33 × 47.8 × 19.3cm)
Laptop: 9.4" W x 9.8" H x 0.6"D (24 × 25 × 1.5)
Weight (with all accessories): 4.6 lbs (2.1 kg)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pulitzer-winning photojournalist Michel du Cille dies at 58

COMING HOME: Michel du Cille during a visit to a Wynwood restaurant in Miami in 2013. 
Photo by Al Diaz
Michel du Cille’s former colleague remembers the day the three-time Pulitzer Prize photographer learned his trade by fire.

“Michel arrived at the Miami Herald as an intern on the day of the McDuffie riots and went out into Liberty City and ended up photographing a car wreck where a little girl was injured and lost one leg and it was very hard on him,” said retired photojournalist Mary Lou Foy, who worked with du Cille at the Herald and later at the Washington Post.

“His mother had died in the last couple months and here’s this kid, still wet behind the ears, and bam! He gets some of the worst stuff going.”

Through some of life’s worst moments — and its most newsworthy — du Cille captured the humanity through his lens. The Washington Post photojournalist died Thursday while on assignment in Liberia chronicling Ebola patients. He was 58.

 According to the Post, du Cille collapsed after a strenuous hike. He was transported over dirt roads to a hospital two hours away but was declared dead on arrival of an apparent heart attack.

“Michel, you can’t say too much good about him,” Foy said. “He just really was a fine man and had it all. Love in his heart and a dedicated photojournalist who wanted the truth to be known.’’

Washington Post photo editor Joe Elbert was in the same position at the Herald when he sent the eager intern out onto the Miami streets in May 1980.

“I gave him a beat-up camera … and he took off and disappeared for two days covering the riots. I told people, ‘I think I killed the intern, and he’s not even starting on the clock until Monday. What do I do?’ He surfaced two days later with these really incredible pictures where he’d gotten into Overtown and Liberty City,” Elbert told the Post.

Bill Cooke recalled when the two were on assignment in October 1986 — Cooke freelancing for The Associated Press, du Cille working for the Herald — when members of the Yahweh religious sect took over an Opa-locka apartment complex. Two of the residents were shot and killed.

“I remember having an exchange with somebody but Michel, he was just, ‘Calm down. We’ll get through this.’’’

Pulitzer-winning Miami Herald photographer Patrick Farrell, whose work was featured with du Cille’s in an exhibition earlier this year of Pulitzer Prize-winning photos at Florida International University’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, believes that is one reason du Cille excelled.

“He showed that kind of eagerness to listen and to record,” Farrell said. “I remember in the the late ’80s I was working for the South Dade News Leader and I saw his crack story and I was like, ‘Holy smokes. How did this photographer do this?’ First of all, they were amazing images but how did this photographer get this kind of access and really gain the trust of these people in such a tough situation?”

Du Cille gained the trust of his fellow photographers, many 
of whom he mentored.

“He wanted young photographers to pass him and I think that’s the biggest contribution he left because that requires a lot of unselfish thought. When I came to the Herald, Mike was one of the few black photographers working and he set the bar up pretty high,” Herald photographer Carl Juste said. “He continued to do the stories most people would say ‘no’ to. He always held the idea that if you are not willing to bear witness, who else would? He was the standard; he was the line.’’ 

And he wanted to make sure the world saw the communities often overlooked.

“He knew the importance of imagery as it pertained to people of color and under-served communities,’’ Juste said. “If we could be truthful to our message we couldn’t be exploited. I think that’s why he went to shoot Ebola [patients.] It was not to cover a disease but to dismantle myths and taboos. … that takes a strong person.”

Du Cille won his first Pulitzer for spot news photography in 1986 — which he shared with then-Miami Herald photographer Carol Guzy, who also later moved to The Post — for their coverage of a devastating Colombian volcano.

“He was my closest friend; I’m heartbroken,” Guzy said. “We started together as interns and it’s been a long journey.” 

On a Facebook post, Guzy wrote, “Beloved Michel du Cille — a man of decency, integrity, dignity and grace. … Michel called from Africa the day my sister passed and expressed regret that he couldn't be here for me. That was the kind of person we all lost.”

In 1988, du Cille won his second Pulitzer in feature photography. He spent months photographing life inside a crack house in Miami on the corner of Northeast Second Avenue and 71st Street, then commonly referred to as “The Graveyard.” 

“He would spend days there at this horrible place and he had huge empathy for his subjects. He always put their humanity and their story ahead of what he was doing with his pictures,” said Newsday multimedia producer Chuck Fadely, who worked in the Herald’s darkroom poring over du Cille’s photographs.

In 2008, 20 years after leaving the Herald and joining the Post, he shared his third Pulitzer, with Post reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull, for an investigative series on the mistreatment of an Iraq war veteran at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Du Cille worked at The Post as an assistant managing editor for several years, battled cancer, and returned to his first love — photography. 

Michelangelo Everard du Cille was born Jan. 24, 1956, in Kingston, Jamaica. At 16, while still in high school, he began his photography career at the Gainesville Times in Georgia. He interned at the Louisville Courier-Journal in Kentucky and the Miami Herald before graduating from Indiana University in 1981. He received a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio University in 1994 while at the Post.

His assignments at the Post often took him to places of strife and deprivation, from Sudan to Afghanistan, where he came under fire in 2013, the paper reported. He covered civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1990s before returning to west Africa this year to cover the Ebola outbreak.

“It is profoundly difficult not to be a feeling human being while covering the Ebola crisis,” du Cille wrote in The Post in October. “Sometimes, the harshness of a gruesome scene simply cannot be sanitized. … The story must be told; so one moves around with tender care, gingerly, without extreme intrusion.”

Survivors include his wife Nikki Kahn, a Washington Post photographer, and two children from his first marriage, Leighton du Cille and Lesley Anne du Cille.
This story was supplemented by The Washington Post. Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

Steve Dozier, Joe Elbert, Michel du Cille and Carol Guzy, left to right, during the Miami Herald staff and family reunion in 2013 in Miami. Photo by Marice CohnBand
Final days of the old Miami Herald building on the bay. Marice CohnBand is carried by Steve Dozier, Joe Elbert, David Walteres, Michel du Cille, Carol Guzy and Bruce Gilbert. Photo by F. Stop Fitzgerald

 Reunion on the bay with Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald staff, past and present. Photo by F. Stop Fitzgerald.
Reunion on the bay with past and present Miami Herald photojournalists, Jeffrey Salter, Carl Juste, Andrew Innerarity, C.W. Griffin, Michel du Cille, Angel Valentin and Bob Eighmie, left to right.
Photo by Marice CohnBand

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

PHOTOS: Art Basel Miami Beach 2014

Artist Urs Fisher's installation titled Small Rain at the Sadie Coles Gallery during opening day at the Art Basel at the Miami Beach Convention Center on Wednesday, December 3, 2014.
Stelle Rayne with daughter Belle Gonzalez, 2, and husband Beto Gonzalez view Daybreak by David Altmejd at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Sculpture by Juan Muñoz at the Marian Goodman Gallery during opening day at the Art Basel.
Di Mondo of New York admires paintings by artist Jack Early during opening day at the Art Basel fair at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

News flash from Art Basel Miami Beach, the big-top fair that opened Wednesday with a lineup of works that not a few of the connoisseurs on hand pronounced among the best, if not the best, of the 13 editions so far: Art can make people happy.
And there were lots of happy people on the floor of the Beach convention center among the throngs of well-shod VIP collectors, curators and gallery owners from around the world who bought and sold big-ticket, top-notch pieces of contemporary art at an unflagging pace from the moment the doors opened at 11a.m.
It wasn’t just the large prices the art was fetching for the galleries, the enthusiasm of the collectors or the breadth and depth of the selections on display in booth after booth that sent a collective wave of joy across the vast convention center floor.
There was, according to The Art Newspaper, in a piece headlined, “Accentuate the positive,” something upbeat about the art itself: Though contemporary art can often be dour, the newspaper said, “happy-looking art” seems to do especially well in Miami, and there was no shortage of it on view Wednesday.

Read more here: