Oklahoma Museum will open large-format Havana photography exhibit

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art will present its first, large-format photography exhibition this fall with a collection of photographs by St. Louis-based artist Michael Eastman, Rick Rogers reports in newsok.com. Titled “Faded Elegance: Photographs of Havana by Michael Eastman,” the exhibit features 29 images taken in the Cuban capital between 1999 and 2010.

“Most of the photographs are 6 by 71/2 feet so the size of these images is very striking,” said Alison Amick, the museum’s curator for collections. “The colors are so rich and the amount of detail that you’re able to see in these enlarged photos is incredible.”

Eastman, whose photographs have appeared in “Time,” “Life” and “American Photographer,” uses a large format camera and prefers to shoot his images on film rather than employing the more common digital format.

In “Faded Elegance,” Eastman explores the contrast of opulence and decay. Many of his photos recall a nostalgic era when Cuba’s wealthy built elaborate homes with grand staircases, ornate windows and intricately designed tile work. Sadly, many of these homes now show the ravages of time and neglect.

“In a way, Eastman has captured something that no longer exists,” Amick said. “There’s something of the past grandeur of Havana combined with the present economic realities. There are images of beautiful chandeliers but the closer you look, you begin to see imperfections like holes in the ceiling.”

One example of that dichotomy can be seen in photographs titled “Isabella’s Two Chairs.” Placed in the center of a large room with an elaborate chandelier are two simple armchairs. After photographing the room on a 1999 trip to Cuba, Eastman had the opportunity to revisit the home one year later and saw laundry drying on a clothesline strung across the room.

“People are often struck by what they see in Eastman’s photographs,” Amick said. “They are portraits without anyone being in the photo. You still get a sense of human presence which makes experiencing these images really personal.”

Eastman’s exteriors often show similar decay. In one image captured in 2000, broken window panes and chipping paint don’t completely obliterate the elaborate cornice work evident on what must have been a beautiful building at one time.

Those familiar with New York City landmarks will see a parallel in Eastman’s photographs of two flatiron buildings in Havana, one imposing and majestic, the other, with its odd curves, looking almost otherworldly.

“Visitors to the exhibition will be captivated by Eastman’s images,” said Glen Gentele, the museum’s president and chief executive officer. “They portray the grand elegance of Cuba’s past while providing a lens through which we can experience the dramatic interiors and architecture that has survived the passages of time.”

For the original report go to http://newsok.com/museum-will-open-large-format-photography-exhibit/article/3600495#ixzz1Wx2sHjda

5 thoughts on “Oklahoma Museum will open large-format Havana photography exhibit

  1. These pieces were truly pieces of restorative artwork. I was very pleased and taken back by the wonderful pieces. It was also such a honor to be the presence of artistic genius such as Michael Eastman. Truly a wonderful exhibition and everyone should go an experience the Havannah.

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