Coral Gables

Her photos captured a rare Everglades moment. They’ll be displayed at Books & Books.

Conservation and nature photographer Phoenix took “Before the Storm” at Everglades National Park. Fourteen of her “Small Worlds” images will be on display at Books & Books in Coral Gables.
Conservation and nature photographer Phoenix took “Before the Storm” at Everglades National Park. Fourteen of her “Small Worlds” images will be on display at Books & Books in Coral Gables.

Nature photographers educate us. They often wake us up with images we would never be in the right place, at the right time, to see.

Phoenix, who goes by one name, is that kind of photographer.

As she describes it, “Being a nature photographer is a mystical experience. Like a meditation of light — color, texture, structure, pattern, and composition — it awakens an inner peace and knowingness.”

Her new solo exhibit of 14 photos, “Small Worlds,” will be on display in the Books & Books gallery located inside the bookstore at 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables, Sept. 4-30. There will be a free opening reception with the artist 7-10 p.m., Sept. 6, during Coral Gables Gallery Night.

One of Phoenix’s images, “Before the Storm,” was caught in a moment of perfection, but it was not without its challenges.

“It was a hot, humid and rainy summer afternoon. Finally, there was a break in the storm and I drove to my ‘secret’ place in Everglades National Park — Pine Glades Lake. Instantly, I was attacked by swarming giant mosquitoes. Just as I set up my gear and composed for the sunset, the winds picked up, the sky darkened and I had the briefest moment to capture the moment before dashing back to the car.

“I’ve had a love affair with nature and wild places ever since the first time I camped out at Everglades National Park as a Girl Scout in seventh grade,” Phoenix said.

Today, the Miami native and Fort Lauderdale resident is an internationally collected, award-winning conservation photographer who was recently named an Artist in Residence at America’s most visited national park, Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

“With this exhibition we are inviting viewers to connect with the beauty and power of each small world, our world, captured in each of Phoenix’s art works,” said Mitchell Kaplan, founder and owner of Books & Books.

“Phoenix has a great sense of oneness with the natural world and understanding of composition, light and timing in photography,” said Juliana Forero, curator for Phoenix’s previous solo exhibit at Bailey Contemporary Arts Center in Pompano Beach. “Very much in the manner of French humanist photographer Cartier-Bresson, she seems to capture the ‘it’ moment, the ‘decisive moment,’ that makes the photos worth the shot.”

For Phoenix, each photograph presents an opportunity for others to connect with the glory of nature.

“For me, preserving nature and wilderness areas is not a luxury, but a necessity for the human spirit. In protecting the world’s nature and wildlife, the environment, we are really protecting the family of humanity.”

Learn more at www.PhotographsByPhoenix.com and for gallery hours call Books & Books in Coral Gables at 305-442-4408.

Teens help senior citizens

Sofia Korn holds the elder community in the City of Aventura close to her heart. The senior at Michael M. Krop Senior High School is the founder of the Reverse 911 “Generations” program.

“I recruited a team of high school students to engage regularly with the city’s seniors registered in the program by making scheduled phone calls to see how they’re doing and to hear their stories,” Sofia said. “These ‘reverse 911’ calls save lives. If the scheduled call is not answered, an Aventura police officer is sent to personally check on the senior’s well-being.”

She said she wants to grow the program that is a partnership with the City of Aventura Police Department with support from Chief Bryan Pegues.

The program is under the supervision of the Aventura Police Department’s Crime Prevention Specialist Ernest Long and the chief’s executive assistant Rita G. Noa.

Working alongside Sofia are Nicolas Winter, Victor Garcia, Franco Dadone, Ido Yaari and Jamie Schwartz.

“How much better would life be if everyone, young and old, could receive a ‘reverse 911’ call from time to time? How often do we find ourselves thinking there is no way out of a problem because we can’t see the solution ourselves?

“In my own life, I was lucky enough to receive ‘reverse 911’ calls from my parents and my teachers, when I didn’t know how to ask for help. That is why I’m so committed to making this program work,” Sofia said.

Last May, the group organized a launch event at Point East where a group of seniors met with Aventura Police, Sofia and her team.

“We presented information about the program and the student volunteers talked with seniors about their life’s journey. One case that touched my heart was the story of a woman who lives alone and has a hard time finding people to talk to. She mentioned that her loneliness is aggravated by the fact that when she greets her neighbors she is often ignored.

“Through the Generations Program, we provide support to seniors like her,” Sofia said. “We raise their spirits by listening to their experiences. We are enriched by the chance to learn about their lives and the early days of our city. The Generations Program is a great opportunity for different generations to learn from each other, while providing increased safety for seniors who live alone.”

To get involved contact sofiakorn8@gmail.com.

Learn Some Grove History

Before it became a favorite place for foodies and tourists, and before it was a haven for hippies and artists, beautiful Coconut Grove was home to some of our earliest settlers. And even before that, it was a province of the peaceful Tequesta Native Americans.

Here’s your chance to learn more when members of Miami Pioneers and Natives of Dade welcome historian Arva Parks for a presentation on the Early Pioneer Days of Coconut Grove.

The historical society is inviting the public to join them, 2-3:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Ave. After the presentation there will be light refreshments and socializing. Learn more at www.mpnod.org.

If you have news for this column, send it to CHRISTINAMMAYO@GMAIL.COM.

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