E. Wright Ledbetter
Galería fotográfica de E. Wright Ledbetter sobre el tema cubano.
The Cuban people face many questions about their future at the start of the twenty-first century: Will Cuban socialism endure in the new century? Can the Cuban people continue to endure it? What are its successes? Failures? What will happen to Cuba and the Cuban people after Fidel Castro? The photographs of Cuba: Picturing Change explore Cuba’s greatest strength—her people.
As the eyes of the world increasingly turn to the small but resilient Caribbean island and its political leader who has outlasted at least ten U.S. administrations since 1959, so, too, do the Cuban people look on and wait for the inevitable change in leadership.
Cuba's next chapter remains largely unwritten and unknown, but a burgeoning tourist industry in Cuba and waning public support of the embargo in the United States indicate that the forces of change are becoming more conspicuous, if not immediately effectual, against Castro’s resistance to economic freedom and his adherence to a one-party government.
Fighting fatigue from the last four decades, present-day Cubans exude an amazing spirit and passion for living. Speaking from a non-Cuban, American perspective, however, I believe we have ignored the people of Cuba for too long. The poor political relationship between our countries has all but hidden the captivating Cuban culture. In this work I have tried to examine the compassion and sense of hope of the Cuban people. I have tried to explore the questions surrounding the current climate’s ultimate impact on Cuban identity—both individually and collectively. I have tried to portray the determined rhythms of the Cuban culture, where we may see joy, peace, and individual strength, but where we may also and insecurity, uncertainty, and vulnerability.
Las fotografías de E. Wright Ledbetter
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|Todas las fotografías © E. Wright Ledbetter|
Although I did not undertake this project with any political agenda in mind, I came to realize that I could not approach what I want to say in these photographs by avoiding politics. Cubans have very little policy-making participation in their political or economic environment. Consequently, an almost tangible tension has evolved within the culture from the increasingly pervasive uncertainty as to what will happen to the people next. I believe—and a number of these photographs reflect this—that Cuba is on the verge of a new “revolution,” and barring substantial political and economic reforms, the Cuban people will be mostly subject to, rather than a part of, any changes that may ultimately occur.
As an outsider, I cannot be the voice of the Cuban people. I can only offer this perspective of a culture at a defining moment—a culture whose complex history is marked by struggle and whose transition may likely be, as well. '
No one has ever described what it means to be alive—and to live—in a single photograph, poem, or work. Art will always be a conversation with the human experience, an ongoing process of exploration and discovery, of revelation and becoming. I hope these photographs and essays will serve to be a small part of the larger conversation about the Cuban people at this turning point in their history. May they also serve to connect each of us to the universal mysteries and challenges—and great opportunities—of being a part of the ever-changing and unfolding human story.
-- E. Wright Ledbetter, 2002
Each of the photographs in the following portfolio was made in and around Havana, except those made in Regla, Mantanzas, Veradero, Santiago de Cuba, and Santiago de Cuba Province as indicated.
E. Wright Ledbetter
P.O. Box 151
Rome, GA 30162-0151
Born 1967, in Rome, Georgia.