Upper State Street

“Cuba Adrift,” Seen Three Ways

by Brian Slattery | Apr 16, 2018 11:11 am | Comments (1)

Hank PaperWe’re on a sunlit stretch of a city block. From the architecture it could be any city center south of the United States, or someplace in Europe. That the building in the foreground is worn down helps narrow it down. But not as much as the subjects. There’s a policeman on the corner, looking vigilant. To his left, a group of musicians, guitars, shakers, an upright.

It’s Havana, and this image, for photographer Hank Paper, encapsulates his experience of Cuba as much as any picture he took.

Make no mistake, he said — Cuba is a dictatorship, and “when you have police on every corner, you’re not going to have crime.” But then “there are these musicians who convey a whole different spirit about the place.” The repressive politics and widespread poverty; the deep and vibrant culture that fascinates the world. “These are the two forces that we’re contending with.”

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Photographer Suspends Disbelief

by Brian Slattery | Feb 14, 2018 7:12 am

Joy BushAt first glance, maybe it’s an island on a clear day, reflected in still water. But then you see that no water is that still. The line between the halves is a little too sharp. Then you see that the bottom half isn’t the same as the top half. They’re not halves at all. It’s a land mass floating in midair.

The image is arresting, stunning, fascinating. What is going on?

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