The upcoming photography exhibit, The Cuban Evolution, captures the Cuban people’s trepidation and excitement over economic reforms that are changing Cuba’s direction from a Soviet-style economic system to one that more closely resembles that of China or Vietnam. Fifty-five years after the Cuban Revolution, this group of Silicon Valley photographers captured images of Cuban life at a historic turning point. Thirty photographs by thirteen photographers will be on display at the Krause Center for Innovation (KCI) Gallery, Foothill College, January 23 – February 28, 2014. An opening reception will be held on January 23, 7-9 pm.
During a two-week professional research trip to Cuba led by Foothill Photography Professor, Ron Herman, these photographers, many of whom are associated with Foothill College, captured images of Cuban life on the cusp of change. Some photographers like Bob Thomsen of Menlo Park and Sheila Botein of Atherton were visiting Cuba for the first time, while other participants were drawn back to witness firsthand the visible changes that haven taken shape since their first trip.
On my first visit to Cuba in 2011 I didn’t see any cell phones,” said Bob Hills of Redwood City who returned to Cuba for his third trip, “now everyone has a cellphone.”
“It is an amazing place to visit and revisit to watch the metamorphosis of the Cuban country as the technology and computers become part of their daily lives,” said Huntsville, Alabama based photographer Julia Gary, who has traveled with Herman twice to Cuba. She explains, “Even though access is limited the Cubans are becoming familiar with social media through computers.”
Returning for her second visit to Cuba, Seattle, Washington based photographer Melinda Miller noted that “while walking along the Malecon and through various neighborhoods on this trip, it was clear that the lid had been lifted to some degree on commercial activity. Almost any crevice of space was buzzing with new commercial ventures…small cafes, clothing stores offering local and foreign products, appliance repairs, even puppies for sale.”
“The changes are so interesting to monitor on a yearly basis,” said Herman, “although the free market is limited, it has had a big impact on the lives of many Cubans.” Bill Scull from Los Altos returned to Cuba for his third time. He noted that “some small businesses that we saw open up last year weren’t successful and had already closed down, while others who found a way to survive with limited supplies and clientele, were enjoying and displaying their new financial success in interesting ways.”
Relationships established through prior visits afforded the photographers the opportunity to explore beyond the traditional tourist destinations, including photo walks with Cuban photographers, visits to art and ballet schools, and cultural exchanges with Cuba’s leading artists. The group travelled outside Havana to various provinces, exploring both the rural and urban landscape.
Exhibitors are: Carla Bohnett, Loren Bohnett, Sheila Botein, Allen Gary, Julia Gary, Ron Herman, Bob Hills, Kathy McGovern, Melinda Miller, Aphra Pia, Bill Scull, Bob Thomsen and Don Wheatley.
The exhibit is located in the KCI Gallery, on the lower level of the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022. Parking is $3.00 (quarters or $1 bills only). Please park in Lot 4. Disabled parking in Lot 4-B. KCI hours of operation are Monday – Friday: 7:30am – 8:30pm; Saturday: 9am – 5pm; Closed on Sundays and for holidays 1/20 and 2/14-2/17. Directions / Campus Map
For more information on the exhibit, view the exhibit blog, http://TheCubanEvolution.wordpress.com
For more information on the Ron Herman’s upcoming Cuba Photo Tour March 23-April 5, 2014, view the tour blog, http://HermanPhotoTours.wordpress.com