Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Campesino Cuba

These black and white photographs radiate something extremely powerful. The scenes they depict appear archaic. How come? It’s what black and white photographs tend to do, I suppose, for they weren’t taken in ancient times but in today’s world. It’s as though some mystical, time-less aura emanates from these images.

These photographs document scenes from rural Cuban life that one rarely gets to see. One does not need words to describe that these people live a hard life, one can see and feel it. For this is what photographs can do – they can make you feel. This is their magic.

Although I’m not unfamiliar with Cuba (I got married in Havana), these pictures introduce me to an island I do not know. They also make once again clear to me that there are not only as many Cubas as there are Cubans but that there are also the many different Cubas of the visitors. Differently put: These photographs show a personal, subjective view – and this is their strength for the more personal, honest, subjective, the greater the chance that others will sympathise, even identify, with what is revealed.

One sees people at work in the field, fishing, sleeping, preparing food, praying, children playing, and and and – pictures of daily life in rural Cuba. Nobody seems to pose for the camera, no fake smiles, quite some appear to live in their own private universe (we all do, of course, but these photographs make it visible to me). 

For the full review, go here

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