David Bailey – Havana
In 2006, acclaimed British photographer David Bailey released Havana, published by Steidl; a book of photographs produced during his travels in Cuba. Bailey stated that this project was not meant to be a deep and meaningful commentary on the country, more a superficial “quick impression of a place that is unique in its geographical position….to be one of the poorest nations on Earth, almost within spitting distance of the richest, makes the poverty of Cuba seem more extreme”. The images in the book are rich in depth and colour and cover a range of genres from portraiture to reportage. Included in the book are photographs that depict quintessentially Cuban motifs, the classic vintage cars, boxing training camps, beautifully decrepit buildings and Santerian iconography to mention a few. Whilst Cuba has a tendency to be seen as somewhat of a time-warped communist theme park, these pictures, whilst acknowledging and referencing this, do not dwell on it and make it the sole focus of the project. I was lucky enough to meet David Bailey and get a signed copy of the book which is now in its second printing; the book is large and beautifully produced, bound in embossed leather with a tipped in photograph on the front.