As we navigate through the winter, we catch ourselves dreaming about warm places to visit. Since we at The Quintessential Gentleman are fans of South Florida, we are always looking for an excuse to jump on a plane to Miami.
People tend to only think about Miami and Fort Lauderdale, but there are so many gems throughout the South Florida area. Pembroke Pines is one of the hidden gems in South Florida, and the 4th annual Taste The Islands Experience (TTIX2020) will be taking place there May 9-10th at the Charles F. Dodge Center.
The TTIX2020 is a food-inclusive Caribbean Culinary Experience. Food and spirits enthusiasts with a taste for island indulgences gather and enjoy authentic sights, sounds and flavors of the Caribbean, celebrity cooking demos, live music, and so much more.
We caught up with photographer David Muir, who also happens to be the co-founder and co-producer of the Taste the Island Experience. He shared with us a little bit about the event as we took a peek into his world of photography.
How long have you been shooting?
I've been shooting since the early 1980s. I've been shooting professionally for 12 years.
What's the best thing about photography?
The best thing about photography is self-expression: telling stories.
Who were your early photographic influences?
My Jamaican photographic influencers are Ray Chen for his cultural photography of Jamaican scenes, Roy Sweetland for entertainment and concert photography, and Don Parchment for event photography and lighting. Because I never studied photography in a traditional school, my influencers are photographers whose collections and portfolio I've seen a lot of, and whom I've met and worked with.
How would you describe your style of photos?
Varied. My earliest styles were candid portraiture, street photography, and cultural documentation. More recently, I think my style is best described artistic realism.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Life experiences, personal philosophy, and striving for equity inspire my work. My photos are meant to uplift, inspire, and inform.
What was the most significant visual moment in your life?
I don't rank moments to have a most significant one. However, significant moments are usually traveling or sport-related. Watching Usain Bolt run and Michael Jordan play are up there. However, I'll suggest that walking and viewing the Great Wall of China may be the most significant.
Are you focused solely on photography as a creative outlet, or are there other things that you involve yourself in?
As an alternative form of creative outlet, I previously worked in the music business for many years. More recently, I write food reviews for Island Origins magazine. Additionally, our team at Island Syndicate produces several culturally creative initiatives, including the annual food festival, Taste the Island Experience (TTIX) that will be happening May 9-10th, 2020, in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
Can you give me your elevator pitch about Taste the Islands Experience?
TTIX is an opportunity to take a culinary and cultural trip through the islands without needing your passport. We feature authentic food and cocktails from the islands, as well as food inspired by island flavors and spices. Additionally, across the span of two days, TTIX has cooking demos by international chefs and mixologists, live music, cultural elements, and a tropical ambiance, which together make for an enjoyable experience. Above all, though, the food is the star of the show.
What do you view as the most challenging struggles of planning for an event like Taste The Islands Experience?
Our greatest challenge when producing an event like TTIX is limiting the number of activities we offer in the limited time patrons are with us at the venue. We want to ensure that everyone has an exceptional experience, so we occasionally become overambitious and have to dial ourselves back, or we'll exhaust our resources.
South Florida is buzzing about this year's Taste The Islands Experience. What do you love most about presenting the event here in South Florida?
The things I like most about presenting TTIX here in South Florida are; one, the proximity to the Caribbean islands for the talent, two, the tropical weather, three, access to culturally competent local talent, and four, the support of the South Florida municipalities and communities for our diverse entertainment.
Can you give us the big picture view of this year's TTIX?
It's a 2-day paradise for the discerning foodie. Each day has its own personality. On Saturday evening, we have 20 Caribbean eateries, multiple islands, and international chefs, a gorgeous new indoor setting, an all-VIP experience, with gourmet bites, Caribbean cocktails, and fabulous people. Other elements include the celebrity DJ, live music, complimentary glam studio, and carnival models. Mother's Day Sunday Brunch consists of a Caribbean buffet with a mimosa bar, steel drum music, couture fashion show, and serenade to moms.
Learn more about the 2020 Taste the Islands Experience Food Festival.