Cuba: Photographs by Jeffrey Milstein

Overview

The images contained in this book do more than mirror reality in Cuba. They offer an orientation to its complexities. They present glimpses that are factual, realistic, honest, mixed with a breath of lyricism and quotidian simplicity, capturing our attention and allowing us to see the unseen. They get us in touch with the depth of our own inwardness and expand our sympathies not only for the Cuban people but also for humanity. —Nilo Cruz

Cuba is a rhythmic, colorful, ...

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Overview

The images contained in this book do more than mirror reality in Cuba. They offer an orientation to its complexities. They present glimpses that are factual, realistic, honest, mixed with a breath of lyricism and quotidian simplicity, capturing our attention and allowing us to see the unseen. They get us in touch with the depth of our own inwardness and expand our sympathies not only for the Cuban people but also for humanity. —Nilo Cruz

Cuba is a rhythmic, colorful, sophisticated, and intimate view into this isolated island that has long existed in a state of paralysis, immobile in time. Photographer Jeffrey Milstein captures and delves deep into the beauty, soul, and the extremes of Cuba’s urban life, the character of its people, the atmosphere of the region, and the country’s visual attractions and landscape.

The artful presentation and more than one hundred stunning photographs portray a story far more revealing and intimate than words can tell, rare views of Cubans at work and play will dispel any notion you might have that Cuba is a somber and depressing place, and will draw you into the history and the people that make Cuba our most fascinating neighbor.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Until you're able to pay a visit, pick up a copy of Cuba: Photographs by Jeffrey Milstein, which captures the fading splendor of once-vibrant buildings on this transitioning island."
—Endless Vacation
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580932752
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press
  • Publication date: 4/20/2010
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 778,212
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Milstein is a photographer, architect, graphic designer, and private pilot. His photographs are in the collections of many museums, including the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, the George Eastman House in New York, the Musée de l’Elysée in Switzerland, the Ulrich Museum of Art in Kansas, and the Akron Art Museum in Ohio. His work has been published in PDN, Photo Review, Foto Magazin, American Photography, Men’s Vogue, Creative Review, and Wired. He is the author of AirCraft: The Jet as Art, a collection of award-winning photographs that explore the typology of aircraft.

Nilo Cruz is a Pulitzer Prize–winning Cuban-American playwright.

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Read an Excerpt

Cuba

Photographs by Jeffrey Milstein
By Jeffrey Milstein

The Monacelli Press

Copyright © 2010 Jeffrey Milstein
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781580932752

From: Introduction
"Fragments of Light"
by Nilo Cruz


Photographs are travelers of light who wander back to their source in order to capture an ephemeral moment—a volatile and evanescent image. They are relatives of memory, of dreams, of apparitions . . . except they are obedient storytellers who arrest the brevity of an instant and rescue it from a vanishing point. Cuba lends itself to the stillness of photographs, since this isolated island has long existed in a state of paralysis, immobile in time, like a stone raft anchored by the burden of an unrealized dream. 
 
Every moment that is embraced by Jeffrey Milstein’s camera seems to be imperishable. His images have a faded beauty reminiscent of old works of art without the craquelure found on the surface of oil paintings. His gaze seems to gravitate to the dilapidation found on the island, to the discolored and fractured walls of elegant and magnificent buildings that not only narrate thousands of stories but also whisper tales of an unresolved promise—a sort of utopia that never quite materialized.
 
The images contained in this book do more than mirror reality in Cuba. They offer an orientation to its complexities. They present glimpses that are factual, realistic, honest, mixed with a breath of lyricism and quotidian simplicity, capturing our attention and allowing us to see the unseen. They get us in touch with the depth of our own inwardness and expand our sympathies not only for the Cuban people but also for humanity. 
 
At first glance, the viewer will be intrigued by the imprint of time captured in the photographs. I was certainly astonished and saddened by the crumbling colonial architecture, by the depiction and mystery of these new ruins. No doubt your own curiosity will be stirred as well by the rundown buildings that are determined to defy neglect even if they can only show the remains of their glory—the pulverized testimony of the grandeur that once graced the streets of Cuba. 
 
One wonders if the decaying architecture portrayed in Milstein’s photographs has been punished for having been built in another epoch since this active kind of destruction is characterized by the takeover of militant regimes. The tendency is to banish all that is representative of any past political ideology or pre-existing system. However, the politics of Communist Cuba have never been able to function without the imprint of time—without the allusion to the past and the vestigial capitalistic corruption that existed during Fulgencio Batista’s regime in the 1950s. The revolution has always been invested in what went on before Castro came into power in order to justify its raison d’être. The imminent fear of an American invasion that could turn Cuba into a semi-colony has always been utilized as a threat and as a means to propagate and fortify the Cuban revolution and its ideals. . . .

Continues...

Excerpted from Cuba by Jeffrey Milstein Copyright © 2010 by Jeffrey Milstein. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Photographic Poem about the Island of Cuba

    Jeffrey Milstein has managed to blend the polished brilliance of the new buildings in colorful Cuba with the romantically beautiful decadence of the withering buildings of the Cuba remembering past glory. This brilliant book of color photographs at times feels like looking at contemporary abstract paintings by such painters as Mitchell Johnson, so geometrically delineated are the blocks of garish colors that form the interiors and exteriors of old Havana. At times he places people in his camera paintings and at other times he lets the architecture and the sense of decay speak for itself.

    Reading CUBA: PHOTOGRAPHS brings the viewer into the presence of a country fairly hidden from us since the Revolution, that time when tourists from the world (and especially the United States) flocked to the casinos and breathtaking beauty of an island paradise. The time stopped and with it the care and upkeep of treasurable old colonial buildings that mirrored European elegance, buildings that now, courtesy of Milstein's lens are seen to be shelter for multiple families living on the edge of poverty. But Milstein doesn't drape pity over these images: he instead shows us a people who remain proud and committed to the relics of the past to remind them of better times. Some images show rooms overflowing with Santos and religious memorabilia arranged to make a crumbling room feel like a grand cathedral.

    Viewing these images (so artistically rendered that they deserve framing and placement on the walls of our homes!) leave the viewer wholly satisfied with the grandeur of the color blocks that serve to rebuild the grandeur that once was Cuba. But more important sociologically is Milstein's sharing image of the people of the private-from-the-world island. They have great dignity, they are still dancing and singing, they are still waiting for the shoreline curtain to be lifted. This is a joyous book that celebrates a place and its people in a way few others have been able to manage. These pictures make us all the more eager to once again visit our island neighbor.

    Grady Harp

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