Miami-Havana - 2006 – 2010

C-Prints on Paper, Diptychs, 20 x 24 each

The photographs depict physical and social landscapes including buildings and natural elements in both cities during moments of transition. Images are paired in diptychs in order to document transitions and tensions as well as visualize similarities and differences in material, shape, form, and color. By picturing the images together they draw attention not only to the forms in the photographs, but also to the social tensions that have been a large part of each city since the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

The photographs in the “Miami-Havana” series depict the built and natural environment in both Miami and Havana from 2006 - 2010, reflecting on the ideas of ‘home,’ ‘space,’ and ‘place’ in these two deeply intertwined urban spaces. I was born in Miami, and over the course of my life there have been both dramatic and subtle tensions between the two cities. During the time of this project, from 2006 – 2010, we witnessed the stepping down of Fidel Castro, rise to power of Raul Castro, President Barack Obama’s election, the easing of independent business regulations in Cuba, and the easing of academic and cultural exchange travel to Cuba from the US. With an ever-younger Cuban and Cuban-American population in Miami, sentiments toward Cuba have also changed from the strident opposition to a more open approach to the affairs of the island and its people. The photographs in the “Miami-Havana” series document the transitions in a subtle manner, focusing on the everyday and the mundane. The images depict, for example, the layered construction and deconstruction of physical buildings in both cities. The images show the similarities and differences in material, shape, form, and color. Other photographs depict everyday scenes of people walking down streets, working, and swimming. However, it is not immediately clear which city street, work place, or ocean is pictured in each image. Taken together as a series, the photographs draw attention to the both the formal elements - lines, colors, shapes, and textures – and the conceptual themes across the cities – home, space, place, and the coastal urban environment. By pairing images together, the series evokes the social tensions that have been a large part of the relationship between Miami and Havana historically and contemporarily, and questions the voracity on which the dialogue of difference has been built.