Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cuba: Campo Adentro

Since I was a little kid I’ve always had an interest and curiosity about other countries, cultures and people. As with many kids, at least I would imagine, I had a deep affection for National Geographic and the stories it contained. As I grew older the photographs really started to intrigue me and I started wondering how they were made and about the people actually making them.

And Cuba has always been a source of intrigue for me. Growing up in the 70’s it was a place that was seen as a threat to the US, specifically a nuclear threat. Well, at least that’s my recollection. Anyway, it’s a place I always thought of and wanted to go to at some point.

And I did actually make it to Cuba while I was in the Navy. But it was strictly off limits for us to venture outside the base. In essence, while I’ve been on the island I’ve never seen Cuba.

David Allen Harvey has a wonderful book on Cuba that I own and I love it. But I recently received a new book on Cuba by Susan S. Bank and I really love this book.

I first saw images from it in the latest edition of Lenswork. Besides the images, the thing that caught my interest was when she started this body of work. She started this work in 2002, well into her sixties, and it’s a wonderful example of producing great work regardless of your stage of life. As I approach my fifties I’m thinking of this a lot.

The book is top notch in the production department. It’s self published and Mrs. Bank spared no expense on the quality. She’s obviously proud of the work and the book shows this.

The images, at least to me anyway, are edited nicely and it’s quite obvious that she is close and connected to the community she has documented in Cuba. She has taken the time to get to know these people and to really share that knowledge with viewers of her images.

I highly recommend this book. And by the way, it was produced with one camera and one lens all on black and white film. Just a lovely book and I’m glad to have it in my collection.


Bob Smith said...

Larry -- thanks for this review. I've been to Cuba and spent some time in the villages - very much like the ones shown in Susan's images -- I have a fair amount of images from Cuba - most of them are very personal and I'll cherish them for a lifetime. I'm heading back to Cuba probably in December -- this time I plan on shooting as much film as I possibly can. I'm afraid the gates will be opened soon to Cuba - and when that happens, it'll forever change...

Oh -- and your entry reminded me to renew my Lenswork subscription!

Thanks so much ....

Larry D Hayden said...

Bob, Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. This is a wonderful book and I wish you all the luck in getting back and doing your work. I'd love to see it.

I'm in total agreement on Cuba and the future once the doors are opened. I had hoped to get there but I doubt I will. Good luck to you.

I do love Lenswork and it's the only photography subscription I have any longer.