2004-05, Quad prints on watercolor paper, 10 x 10 in.
The Cuba Series represents the people and architecture of Cuba during a brief seven-day trip in 2003. In the tradition of the Flâneur, I approach each new destination as an observer, strolling thorough each turn casually, respectful of the environment and its customs. My image making is traditionally quiet and undiscernible. I was drawn to this excursion with the customary excitement in anticipation of discovery, expecting to proceed as usual in my method of photographing. However, the reception I received from the Cuban people was unexpected and thrilling. It was impossible to be invisible.
The west views this third world country as politically obsolete, its peoples caged. Structurally those restraints exist, and just like the metaphors found in the art of the Cubans, I too began my photographic story depicting those limits, and they remain in this series. But I quickly discovered something more profound, and more emancipating than the obstructions. I found the souls its inhabitants exhibit. It was the beauty, pride, and joy of these people that motivated my image making. Ever anxious to communicate with the outside world, these citizens offered graciousness and sheer pleasure upon encountering me while I wondered the streets with my camera. I was approached and encouraged to communicate. They led me around corners, pointing with pride at a favorite building, or a treasured site. And then, eager to have me capture their likeness, they posed for me, then quickly jotted down an address for me to send them a copy.
This series of images is not a documentary in the traditional sense; a mere seven-day journey could not be so defined. It is a record of an encounter with a place and a people who embraced a stranger, and pressed her shutter.
All images are shot with a Hasselblad 500C camera; developed with Agfa Rodinal. Printed with Epson 3000 printer and Piezography archival pigment dyes on rag paper.
Marfa, Texas, 2006, Quad prints on rag paper, sizes variable