Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Liberty City is like Paris

"Liberty City, together with its families, opened its arms to me with my camera, just like Paris once did. And now they've both become for me, the City of Love. -Bruce Weber, photographer

A post on the South Florida Daily Blog this morning reminded me, once again, why we need blogs and why blogs are here to stay.

Yes, we still need the Miami Herald. And the New York Times and its Baghdad bureau.

But blogs fill in the gaps.

This morning, Rick posted an item on fashion photographer Bruce Weber's new short film, "Liberty City is like Paris."

I'd never heard of this film until I read Rick's post this morning. I did a search and couldn't find a thing written about it in the Herald.

(To be fair Miami New Times mentioned the film three weeks ago, even if staffer Kyle Munzenrieder was a little too quick to dismiss Weber as just a shooter of black and white soft porn.)

Weber, who has a home in Golden Beach, which is about as far removed from Liberty City as any place can be, shows us in his new film that beauty is all around us.

He's never forgotten the lessons he learned in Paris as a student in the early 70's when he says, "learning about photography was as easy as walking down its boulevards with my only busted up Nikon."

Weber now turns his lens on Liberty City and shows us that there's more to this wonderful Miami neighborhood than drive-by shootings and shooting galleries.

It's not the first time that Weber has drawn inspiration from - or used South Florida's sometimes forgotten neighborhoods as a backdrop.

In 1986 he shot a Calvin Klein Obsession perfume campaign on the roof of the Breakwater Hotel on Ocean Drive.

Back then, Ocean Drive was a collection of run-down, seedy hotels that had seen better days.

But "that [shoot] captivated other photographers and helped spread the word in the tightly knit fashion industry that Miami and South Beach have a certain allure for the camera," the Herald wrote two years later in 1988.

So thanks to Rick for his post. I guess the Herald will get around to writing about this sooner or later. But until then, we've still got the blogs!


  1. Thanks for the mention and the words, Bill! That film blew me away.


  2. Good on him, maybe bringing in some "coverage" to a neighborhood that's only documented by Channel 7 and the FLIR on MPD's new Ghetto Bird, can be a catalyst for improvement.

    However, there's a fine line to walk between improvement and gentrification.

    Bruce may have sparked the revolution which bought the fashion industry to South Beach, but at the same time, it led to gentrification and the eventual homogenization of what was once a unique area of the country. The innovative element was kicked out by the rising cost of living. The "art" set typically does not make enough money to enjoy generic condo living. They either lose their creative spirit and start flying a desk, or they leave town.

    Not to sound blasé, but there's hardly an element of South Beach these days that hasn't been exported from another region. The Beach no longer sets the trends. What you see nowadays is a corruption of places like St. Tropez, Ibiza, Mykonos, and Milan.

    Sad but true. It's still fun, but the thrill of originality is gone.

    This is where blogs and social media fill in the gap. Could I say this to the Herald without several layers of bureaucracy in the way? Not on your life. Just by potentially slagging on advertisers I'd be culled into the cutout bin.

    Blogs are a double-edged sword. They allow every crackpot with a laptop and a link to the internet to voice their opinions, but sometimes that's what people need to hear.

    For the record, I manage a social website and we've got compelling content as well as a lot of crap. Those are the breaks. Welcome to the 21st Century. Hope you guys are ready for Wave.

  3. I loved this film too. Thanks for spreading the word, Bill.

    (It's ironic it was also filmed in Little Haiti and Wynwood ... but that is besides the point.)


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