Pablo Delano’s “In Trinidad”

In Trinidad, a book of photographs by Puerto Rican photographer Pablo Delano, has just come to my attention. The black and white photographs offer powerful insights into everyday life in Trinidad, as you can see from the examples included here.

Here is the publisher’s description of this beautiful book:

In Trinidad is the first photographic book to document the complex issues of post-colonial Trinidadian identity primarily through visual means. Puerto Rican photographer Pablo Delano has over the period of a decade photographed ordinary Trinidadians at work, at play, at worship in their homes, on the streets, and in their vocational niches. His richly reproduced black and white photographs capture the essence of a uniquely intercultural Caribbean People, paradoxically poised between oil and natural gas-driven postindustrial capital development and earlier rhythms keyed to seasons of Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Orisha, and secular festivity. An Introduction by Trinidadian masman Peter Minshall and essays by Professor Emeritus and calypso scholar Gordon Rohlehr, and cultural analyst Milla Riggio reinforce the vision articulated by the photographs.

Pablo Delano was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and was introduced to the art of photography at an early age by his father the renowned photographer, Jack Delano. After studying painting in the US, he began documenting Hispanic and Caribbean communities in various New York City Neighbourhoods. Pablo Delano’s photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world and his book of photographs Faces of America, was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 1992. He teaches photography at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Milla Cozart Riggio is the James J. Goodwin Professor of English, Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut and has taught at the University of the West Indies. She has worked in theatre for the past twenty years and has written extensively on Trinidad Carnival and other dramatic and festive traditions. Her most recent edited book is Carnival: Culture in Action- the Trinidad Experience (2004).

Peter Minshall describes himself as a Caribbean, a richly textured, multi-layered hybrid, at once robustly coarse and primitive and perfectly refined. He trained in Carnival design in the streets of Port of Spain, and in theatre design in London. Since the 1970s he has pioneered the living art of the masman and became the foremost Carnival artist of the Caribbean. He has designed ceremonies of the Barcelona and Atlanta Summer Olympics and the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. A Guggenheim Fellow and Emmy Award winner, he has been emulated and honoured around the world.

Gordon Rohlehr is Professor Emeritus at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. He has written extensively on West Indian literature, oral poetry, calypso and the popular culture of the Caribbean. He is the author of several highly acclaimed books including Calypso and Society in Pre-Independence Trinidad (1990), A Scuffling of Islands: Essays on the Calypso (2004), and most recently Transgression, Transition, Transformation: Essays in Caribbean Culture (2007).

To order go to

Photos: All photographs are © Pablo Delano and may not be copied, duplicated or reproduced in any way without written permission of the author.

2 thoughts on “Pablo Delano’s “In Trinidad”

  1. Coincidentally, I have just received the book; it is a breathtaking example of the coming together of the ethnographic, humanistic, and deeply personal gaze. The selection of photographs, essays, and short textual selections by people from all walks of life—including worshippers, paranderos, Lloyd Best, David Rudder, Kizzie Ruiz, and Derek Walcott—all combine to make this a veritable jewel!

  2. Gracias, Ivette.
    The book would not have been possible without the kindness, generosity and insight of my colleague Professor Milla Riggio, who first took me to Trinidad in 1997. The book is really a collaboration with Milla; she was co-editor of the images, she was instrumental in identifying the short textual selections you mention, and we designed the image sequences together.
    Pablo Delano

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