Ernesto Bazan, Children Playing with Soap Bubbles, Havana, Cuba, 1998
Ernesto Bazan, Diving, Havana, Cuba, 1995
Ernesto Bazan, Machetero Drinking, Bejucal, Cuba, 1996
Ernesto Bazan, Boy on the Ferry, Havana, Cuba, 2004
I look at my work in Cuba as a meditation on the human condition. My main concern when I take pictures there has always been to let the humanity of my subjects shine through, to show how the indomitable human spirit always prevails over the daily difficulties. My images aren’t about larger-than-life heroes, they are about real people, like you and me, waking up everyday and facing life as best they can.
— Ernesto Bazan
Italian photojournalist Ernesto Bazan first traveled to Cuba in 1992 and immediately fell in love with the county and its people; he felt transported to the Sicily of his childhood. After many more trips, Bazan finally moved to Cuba in 1997, documenting daily life, raising a family, and teaching photography classes during the “Special Period.” Bazan’s images document the country’s socioeconomic crisis and the tensions between rich and poor after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of its financial support. He captured the Cuban people’s despair and hopelessness as well as the joy, resilience, and dignity of his neighbors. This fourteen-year project—awarded a W. Eugene Smith Fund Award for Humanist Photography—documents the island’s struggle to maintain its socialist identity in a post-communist world.