Havana 1998

On a dismal Havana afternoon in May of 1998, I sat in the backseat of Felix Rodriguez Lopez's 1952 Chevrolet. Through his clouded windshield, I photographed the rainy corner of San Anastasio and Concepcion streets. In the foreground on a swath of pink wall someone had written -- first in large black letters then again in white -- "Viva Fidel."

Fidel Castro's rise to power, seen through the window of the 1950's and early 60's, remains the American view of Cuba. This was the period of the Cuban Revolution, of the expropriation of American properties, of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Because of our economic embargo and their own government controlled media, Cubans have a narrow view of America that is also mired in the past. Ironically, the 1950's-era American automobiles that dominate Cuban roads provide a daily window - at once distorted and hauntingly accurate - through which Cubans view their own lives. With all of this in mind, in 1998 I made a series of landscapes of Havana through the windshields of American cars, hoping to see Cuba in a more accurate way and to discover something about the way in which Cubans and Americans frame their views of each other.

Alex Harris

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Alex Harris: Photographs, 1998-2000
Havana 1998  GameBoy 2000

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