Miami is heating up. The bright warm city is stirring up because of one man. Miami Herald photojournalist Carl Juste is thriving in the city by telling his stories. Juste’s mother lived in Santiago de Cuba during her childhood and he, a Haitian-born American, grew up in Miami. Juste uses his background to inspire his craft.
He wants his photos to change the way you think or even make you connect on another level. Juste has travelled the world to capture many unforgettable moments. He aims his lens to create art and break boundaries.
Earlier this week, I had a chance to interview Juste. Let me just say he is far from boring.
Q & A: An interview with Carl Juste
What school did you attend?
-University of Miami
How did you get into photojournalism?
-I was in college studying phycology pre-med and I changed my major. In high school, I worked for the yearbook. But in college, I took a couple photo courses and did some internships and worked my butt off. I don’t think I chose this career. I never thought this was a viable way to make a living as a kid until I was presented with the idea. It’s a lot of work and a lot of sacrifices. I’ll tell you that much.
How do you use your photographs to tell a complete and compelling story?
-I never thought that photographs tell a complete story. I think photography is not only what you see and it’s not only what you capture. It’s also how to have a lot of context. You have to speak to a greater truth. The kind of images I produce. I always try an effective way to layer it and bring in other elements. I like images that don’t only appeal to your heart and to your reaction, but to your brain.
Who inspired you to be a photojournalist?
-There is really great gatekeepers, you know people who help the craft and the art, people like C.W. Griffin. I was never one to dwell in the past. I always looked up to the work. Photographers always have a style that I’m attracted to. But the main thing was telling the story and using principles of photojournalism.
If it was fashion, sports or daily news, it didn’t matter because they understood the meaning of digital storytelling and language. You don’t have to go to India to make great pictures, there are pictures all around you all the time.
Is photojournalism a dying or growing art form of storytelling?
-I think photojournalism is not dying, and I think it’s growing. It’s definitely thriving here and all around the world. People are choosing the camera as their weapon of choice. I hope the remaining part of my career will be dedicated into making sure these principles of storytelling will continue even through video or a microphone. The biggest value of this all is the truth.
How have multimedia platforms hindered or enhanced your field?
-You have to make a decision, which platform am I going to be most effective on. I don’t think you do a video for the sake of a doing a video. I think if someone is a videographer and that’s their thing then that’s fine. But my weapon is an image. I shoot video and I enjoy it, but that’s not my best option. At the end of the day, I am a visual storyteller and, however, that plays itself out- plays itself out.
Is there one picture still to this day that you took that you admire?
-There’s plenty of those. There’s probably 10 pictures to me that I have taken that I wouldn’t get tired of looking at. It’s magical and it doesn’t happen often and if it did, it probably wouldn’t be real.
And I start every day to make an image that’s compelling. No matter how talented you are, you can’t take a perfect picture when you just pick up a camera-it’s impossible. Yeah you can get lucky, but there’s a lot of people who won a Pulitzer but you never hear from them again.
Where do yourself in five years?
-Making art, selling photojournalism as an art, continuing with projects and maybe be a filmmaker. I hope to be independent and that’s a goal. I want to change the world. I want to change my part of the world, the best way I can.
What advice would you give to an upcoming photojournalist?
-You have to keep on walking even when you think you have arrived. You have to keep learning.
-See you next time!