This article originally appeared on VICE US
Island On My Mind paints such a refreshing staging of Cuba that it makes us feel like no politics, romanticizing or simple mindlessness went into its construction. I say refreshing because most books about Cuba today seem made only to perpetuate the visual clichés of old cars and decaying architecture and while some find this romantic gaze compelling, I find this approach to be ultimately reductive and unproductive. I prefer the intelligence and clarity bound in this book.
Irina Rozovsky's pictures make a nice whole out of this island. In these small phrases of pictures an interesting normality hovers allowing us to feel how some life there could be comprehended. Irina's focus is trained on the small moments that make up the larger fabric of culture and its darker side. We are indeed, shown the bones of Cuba's organism for better or for worse.
The sea is so beautifully turned into both, pleasure and painful longing that it's not surprising to see Irina have the poet Reinaldo Arenas, who embodied those two poles of feelings for this island, open the book.
And then, at last, they saw the country and the countercountry—because every country, like all thing in this world, has its contrary. -Reinaldo Arenas
Irina Rozovsky is a Boston-based photographer who teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She will be having a signing for her second monograph, Island in my Mind at ICP in New York City tomorrow evening. You can follow her work here. See more of her photos below.
Abelardo Morell is a renowned Boston-based photographer known for his use of camera obscura and other innovative techniques in his practice.