Carl Juste, an award-winning photojournalist at the Miami Herald, is returning to Focus on the Story as this year’s honorary festival chairman. He will deliver the welcoming remarks on this year’s festival theme: “Witness.”
Juste was the perfect choice to chair the festival because of his dedication to the principles of ethical storytelling and his commitment to giving back to the community through various personal projects, said Joe Newman, executive director of Focus on the Story.
“We think he’s a great role model for attendees, not only of how a documentary photographer should conduct oneself behind the lens, but also how they can use the art of visual storytelling to empower others,” Newman said.
Juste, known for his passionate visual storytelling, is deeply involved in the South Florida community where he is a frequent lecturer, educator and curator.
One of Juste’s projects, “I Witness,” is a photo exhibit that includes the work of 25 internationally-celebrated photojournalists who have contributed images that explore conflict – personal, internal, psychosocial, military, cultural and religious experiences – while maintaining the truthful and ethical principles of journalism. The 50-image exhibit, which includes the work of Lynsey Addario, Colin Finlay and Maggie Steber, will be projected at the festival’s opening night party.
“The powerful image is one that rests on our conscience, constantly demanding not to be forgotten,” Juste said.
“I Witness,” however, is more than an exhibit, it is also the inspiration for a multi-day symposium Juste is planning for Miami in 2020 to help prepare photojournalists and documentary storytellers to thrive in today’s changing marketplace.
Juste is an original member of the Iris Photo Collective, a collaboration he co-founded with André Chung, Pablo Martínez Monsiváis and Clarence Williams III, that explores and documents the relationship of people of color to the world. Juste, Chung and Martínez Monsiváis, will lead the closing session of the festival – judging and critiquing the festival’s live photo competition.
The three award-winning photojournalists were featured at last year’s festival where they led a storytelling workshop and presented their decade-long photo project “Havana-Haiti,” which compares and contrasts the two island nations through a social, cultural and geopolitical lens. The project will be published this year as a book.