American Society of Media Photographers South Florida


Exhibit Challenges Teens About Hunger

ASMP South Florida chapter member Benjamin Rusnak last week challenged high school students to think about hunger in their community by exhibiting and discussing his humanitarian photographs during Archbishop Curley Notre Dame's annual HungerFest.

 "After The Chorus" - When asked who knew someone that had died, a chorus of names rose into the mountain air from a group of anxious women. After four tropical storms destroyed their crops, the subsistence farmer of Baie D'Orange, Haiti, waited at a hilltop delivery pint, hoping for aid to arrive. However, that aid was to late for the 40 people who died of malnutrition in late 2008."

The Miami Catholic school is hosting Rusnak's "Dreams and Tempests" exhibit of black and white panoramic photographs he has captured throughout Latin America and the Caribbean while working as a humanitarian photographer with Food for the Poor, Inc., an international relief and development agency.

Rusnak told the students that “working in the tropics, I have often been struck by the irony of people struggling to survive in what should be an idyllic setting. The poor search daily for adequate food, shelter and water under the same sun and palms where vacationers play. And despite their hardships, the poor still have the hope and faith to dream of living in the paradise that surrounds them."

"Rising Up"- Workers in a garbage dump in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, raise their hands when asked if they dream of a better life - one where they wouldn't have to earn a living by sifting through refuse for food and recyclables."

Rusnak told the students how he uses the foundations of solid journalistic story-telling to fund raise for the poor, and how his work depicts poverty in Honduras, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Guatemala.

"Dreams and Tempests" has recently been on display at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., KONA Gallery, CA, and George Mason University, VA and he has spoken about his work to people of all ages including engagements at the University of Florida and University of Central Florida.

"Breathlessly Alone" - A young girl sits tethered to an oxygen tank, alone in a Honduran hospital. Opportunistic infections that lead to respiratory problems are common among children with poor diets or chronic malnutrition."

HungerFest is a yearly event that raises consciousness of poverty and world hunger where ACND students demonstrate solidarity for the poor by abstaining from food and drink, other than water, from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening.  They spend two days bagging lunches with products donated by the student body as well as the community, and deliver the food to Camillus House and the Miami Rescue Mission. ACND is located in Miami's Little Haiti district.

The mini-exhibit of nine five-foot-wide prints will hang in the school's art gallery through April 20, 2011, and may be viewed by appointment at 4949 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33137, by calling 305-751-8367.

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