Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thoughts of Collection (People of Cuba)

One thing I've learned about making these posts is that the hard part isn't really coming up with a topic. The hard part is mustering up the power to break from the chains of procrastination and write the topic fast enough lest I lose interest in it. That would leave it to wither away in the dusty corners of the unpublished section of the internet- shame, shame.
That's what happened to a post I was working on that discussed my hand photography. It actually became tough trying to put into words its meaning without giving it meaning; it was difficult to give a subject verbal meaning without "polluting" the viewers' opinions. [I like thinking that my viewers' opinions are raw, like my Sushi.]

So the light bulb of intense literary inspiration that burns the procrastination chains away temporarily came on. Coincidentally, a new idea decided to board the inspiration train.

This post's subject is the "People" gallery within the "Cuba" collection on my website.
Love this image. It really captures the spirit I see within the kids.
Would you call it innocence... or something else?

My People

One of the topics of my research for photography (yes, there is such a thing as research with photography) is the study of Identity within photography and the photographer. As you already know (maybe not), I was born in Cuba! *silent whispers from the audience* And I actually came to America at the age of five. You don't really have to remember that, since I'll most likely bring it up again in the future (for a legit reason). 
During the 16 years that I've lived in America, I've traveled to Cuba five- maybe six- times, and the last two times I went as a photographer. The "People" collection of the "Cuba" folder isn't just a portrait of what I see in Cuba, but it is also a portrait of myself, as a person. Each image represents how I see the country and its people, my people. So if anyone ever wants to write about me (obviously you would), then just look at my photography work as your main source of information.
Photography is a very expressive art medium. Unlike painters, we can't express our emotions through the motions of the brush, but the image itself tells the viewer (almost) exactly what we see. More to the point, it shows you what we are looking at.

Anyways, I'll probably go into a philosophic photography rant some day, but not today :) So no worries, my good reader. 

So here are some of the images I took and short statements to go with them:
This is my classic rock-loving uncle. He's 20 and represents a lot of how I'd describe the
youth population in Cuba. Not all, of course. There's a really large range of opinion in Cuba,
which is shown by the different types of personalities. He just follows the "against-the-man" nature.

After I left, he was drafted.

This picture is called "Perdidos en La Habana," which translates to "Lost in Habana." Why?
Well, I didn't originally think of naming this picture what it is called now when I took it, but the
name came when I showed it to my Cuban family, and they all started laughing. They said that the licence
plate was from Guantanamo and that they had broken down in Havana (both are very far apart).
It's one of those "I can't believe this shit" laughs.

So that's how I got the name. "Perdidos en La Habana" represents breaking down far away from "home."

I REALLY like this picture, because it really captures a massive part of the Cuban situation with the rest of the world.
The guy's expression (in foreground) is awesome too. I won't go into detail about
this image, so I'll leave it to you to give it an interpretation.

Manga (pronounced mAHn-ga, not Man-ga) and Anime are MASSIVE in Cuba, especially with the younger gen.
 This guy happens to be a member of Cuba's largest Manga and Anime organization, maintained by the
Cuban youth. They actually have contacts in Japan, and they talk about the latest and greatest in
the culture's happenings. And Magic the Gathering and other card games are really popular as well.
Fun Fact: Shingeki no kyojin is the most popular Manga right now.

My adorable nephew (period)

This picture was really awesome to get. When I saw it a big light bulb turned on,
which is ironic since this image represents the frequent power outages throughout the entire

Think about it.

There are many more images in the "People" collection on the website, so I recommend you check them out. Every single picture on the folder represents a unique aspect of the Cuban identity and the things they currently face in everyday life. It also represents a part of me- the image hunter (as my cousin, who is a professional painter, described). In the comments section, feel free to share some of what you see when interpreting these pictures.

On a last note, I'd like to thank the new addition to my editing squad, Eric Staab, for looking over my crappy writing. Without him (and the other editor, the wonderful Mercedes Flowers) you'd be looking at random words with cat emojis everywhere. And yes, I have an editing squad. Mixed feelings.

Till next time.


Edited by Eric Staab.

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