Photographer David Bailey has said, self-deprecatingly, that Havana “is just a superficial look, not a soul-searching investigation, a quick impression of a place that is unique in its geographical position.” But he reveals the importance of that quick impression and the depth of his understanding when he describes Havana’s “unique position”–with surreal accuracy–as “much closer to the United States of America than the space station is.” Both are places ordinary Americans cannot visit. To be one of the poorest nations on Earth, almost within spitting distance of the richest makes the poverty of Cuba seem more extreme. Two countries with extreme ideologies; the small one proving that Communism does not work, the other proving that democratic paranoia does work if the power and the money are in place. Havana makes use of Bailey’s mastery of the full range of the medium’s many genres, from vibrant street reportage to crystalline portraiture. This is Havana as an icon of one of the most distinct and revealing cultural divides left in a world hurtling toward homogeneity, Havana as seen by a master at the height of his craft. Bound in an embossed leather cover.
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