In 1989, I began my career in photojournalism by falling in love with the many cities within the City of Miami. I could travel deep inside places that, though they shared the same zip code were often foreign to each other. Government cut on South Beach, The transient homeless camps along Julia Tuttle Causeway and the fully established ones in Bayfront Park, The wooden boats painted Virgin Mary Blue aimed at Port O' Prince carrying piles of bicycles down the Miami River, the burlesque Queens of 79th Street, the other Queen's at The Warsaw Ballroom on South Beach, and the eternal feel of the 1950's along Collins avenue all the way up to 183rd street, and Ohhh Brownsville, Wynwood, Overtown and Little Havana.
I began showing my pictures to Tom Schroeder, The Tropic editor and my first real assignment was to document the Miami Beach Boardwalk. The wooden stretch ran from Wolfie's Restaurant on 21st all the way up past the Fountain Blue and was the physical intersection of the metaphor that is often used to describe the Miami that I knew; The City with many faces. The Tropic cover story that came from the assignment began a long relationship with Tropic, and The Magazine, regularly provided a home for my work. I did six cover stories for Tropic; many feature articles and then a regular column called Tropical Wildlife. Still most of the work that I did while I was in Miami from 1989 to 1996 has gone unpublished.
I have waited for the right time, often thinking I would go back after I moved to New York. I did not visit Miami again for ten years. In 2005 I was part of a show there and when I looked for the places that I had photographed and even with a physical address, I could not recognize the streets. The neighborhoods were gone, the landscape had changed, the people had transformed into those that fit all of the newness. I knew then that my pictures were my only evidence of the old soul of Miami that I knew so intimately.
I am planning a workshop in conjunction with my gallery in Miami's Wynwood Art District (co-incidentally I was one of the first people to actually live in that area). The purpose of the workshop is to bring the pictures back home to Miami. I want to revisit as many of the subjects of The Tropic articles as the workshop students and I can find. We will look at the changes in the feel of neighborhoods and landmarks that are no longer. We will try to put our finger on the old souls of Miami - the ones that are still here though maybe not physically visible. More than a "where are they now" kind of approach we want to get at how the feel of places has changed and be reminded and remind the readers of the timelessness of Miami and Her ability to reinvent Herself and inspire that in Her communities - a feeling that hopefully will not stop here.
Call me with any questions: 646-594-5469
I will always be grateful to The Herald for nurturing me as a young photographer.
Thanks So Much,
Brenda Ann Kenneally
© Copyright 1989 - Brenda Kenneally. All rights reserved.