- Hardcover: 252 pages
- Publisher: National Geographic Books; 01 edition (1 Oct. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0792275012
- ISBN-13: 978-0792275015
- Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 2.5 x 27.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,325,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cuba Hardcover – 1 Oct 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I have recently visited Cuba and found that Harvey's photography captures the essence of Cuba's greatest resource - the Cuban people. Strong and proud, though materialistically impoverished, the people of Cuba are rich in relationships, music, dance and defiance. Harvey, a photographer for National Geographic, has spent the last 20 years photographing Latin America and is skilled at capturing people in their everyday environment.
Newhouse's chapter on the turbulent history of Cuba is excellent. Without pulling any punches about the glaring deficiencies of Castro's totalitarian Communist government, she writes with objectivity about life in Cuba and she is able to show, with sensitivity to the culture, the strength found in the people of Cuba. "But above all Cuba is music," Newhouse writes, "expressing Cubans' intense joy in life, sensuality and machismo. Garcia Marquez calls Cuba 'the most dance oriented society on earth. And that Fidel Castro is the only Cuban who can't dance, should have warned the people about him from the start.'"
The downside of this book is the publisher/printer's very poor reproduction of Harvey's photos. Almost all of the photos are too dark and thus rob the effect that David Harvey intended. Considering that National Geographic is distinguished for its stunning photography, I called the publisher and asked about this blunder and was told that the printer, not the photographer, was culpable.
This book celebrates the passion, color and sensuality of the Cuban people, and, even with the gray backdrop of Communism framing their existence, and the deficiency in the photo reproduction, the Cubans are still able to shine through the gloom and darkness. Recommended.
I suspect that those who complain about "dark pictures" have missed the point; the photographer seems to deliberately have exposed for the highlights, leaving his shadow areas to fall to blackness and lending the subjects in his photos a timeless anonymity.
And the harsh reviews that Harvey has "misunderstood" Cuba seem to be misguided on the part of some reviewers. I guess they'd rather deny that the poverty reflected in some of his photographs actually exists, and bash him for merely bringing a non-Cuban perspective to the land they love with rose-tinted vision, rather than address the actual points his work raises.
What it does, and that one of the most accomplished artists of his generation proves here page after page, is to show us how the best photographer is one who doesn't merely catch a moment, nails a perfect shot, but conveys his feeling of a place and its people, and so much that is in between and that words can hardly translate, which is exactly where the subjectivity of and in photography, the inherent genius of the medium, comes in.
Harvey's photographic mastery lies in the poetic, not the descriptive. He has what the greatest masters of the Arts do have, an intuitive knowledge of the composition, of the right angle, coupled to a sure sense and experience of color hues and volumes, again not to nail a shot, not to do pretty, snappy glossy travel or documentary images but to give that photo the resonance of a written poem, to translate all these elements as feelings, be they lingering or fleeting ones .
Also, anyone just a little familiar with his career knows that he wouldn't even bother to go out and shoot if he was to lose his great empathy for people, a quality that defines who he is, maybe even more than his photographic talent. I doubt any of the cubans he met, some many times over, found any less than a friend in him. It is their loss that some do not recognize this in his pictures.