bal harbour blog

In Focus

Culture Watch

Bruce Weber, acclaimed photographer and Oscar-nominated documentarian, finds inspiration close to home for his upcoming exhibition, "Haiti/Little Haiti," at MOCA.

When Jonathan Demme screened his documentary The Agronomist during the 2003 Miami International Film Festival, Bruce Weber was in the audience; the movie revolves around Jean Dominique, who ran Haiti's first independent radio station. "At the end of the screening, Jonathan gave a speech about how important it was that we all help to address the unfair immigration practices that were in place at the time," recalls Weber, a longtime resident of Golden Beach. "His plea really prompted us to go on this journey, to see if we could bring some attention to these policies through photographs and words."

Starting on November 18, Weber's passion project goes on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, when the exhibition "Haiti/Little Haiti" opens showcasing 75 Weber photos, as well as his short documentary Liberty City Is Like Paris to Me. Also screening will be his 2004 film A Letter to True, which dovetails with MOCA's presentation in that Weber elucidates his early days shooting in Miami's Haitian communities. Weber serves as narrator (with short exceptions when Julie Christie and Marianne Faithful take the mic), and one can't help but notice a striking similarity between his timbre and that of another otherworldly Florida figure, Showtime's Dexter Morgan—and truth be told, Weber also shares with the fictional Dexter an obsession with justice denied.

Here, Weber discusses his upcoming MOCA moment, and tells us what it takes to make a Bruce Weber picture a Bruce Weber favorite.

What has been the most gratifying part about the process of shooting and filming in Little Haiti and Liberty City?
The most gratifying part is to be constantly pulled back into the community by the tireless spirit and will of the Haitian people, many of whom have experienced so many tragedies in recent years.

Were you surprised by how many people, even in Miami where this is happening, were unaware of the situation with the Haitian immigrants?
For myself, I never knew about these immigration policies... I was so saddened to think that people who had risked their lives to reach the shores of this country would be treated this way. I thought of my own ancestors, being German and Russian Jews, and how different my life would have been had they been turned away.

Of all the things you've learned during this project, what resonates with you the most?
The biggest lesson to me is to live in the moment, to always be thankful for anything that embraces you in a loving way.

Do you have a personal favorite in terms of your photos from this body of work?
It's hard for me to talk about favorite photographs because I don't really look at my work in that way; I always want them to be better. All I hope is that these photographs will reach people, challenge their attitudes, make them think of ways to help those who have been affected by the recent tragedy in Haiti. If they do, that would be my favorite picture.

you may also like
Culture Watch

An Illustrated Archive

Artist Ruben Toledo speaks to the power of the sartorial sketch as we take a look back at a decade of celebrating fashion illustration in Bal Harbour Magazine.
Culture Watch

The Ferrari Legacy

For all of our automotive enthusiasts and Ferrari lovers in particular, Taschen and Ferrari collaborate to create a production unparalleled in scale available for special order at Books & Books Bal Harbour.
Culture Watch

The Year of Intentional Thinking

A Guide to Transcendental Meditation with Norman Rosenthal.
Culture Watch

The Perfumes Provence Built

During harvest time in the South of France, exclusive fragrance farms create an ephemeral experience of sight and smell.
back to top