We love the way Los Angeles-based photographer Juan Luis Garcia breaks through the clutter of Cuba clichés with his first book, Cuba y Cubans. That’s no small task, but through the lens of this gifted up-and-coming artist, it’s beautifully done.
On his trip across the island as still photographer for a documentary shoot, he managed to find something fresh in his portraits of Cuban people, and even in those commonly seen themes of vintage American cars, cigar makers, and palm trees.
Garcia’s photos cut straight through decades of propaganda (at least for those of us here in the U.S.) to make a connection with everyday Cubans. He helps us see their humor, their pride, their struggles, and even those cigars in a brand-new way. In a recent interview, Garcia says he wanted to “show a Cuba that is beautiful, full of life and wonder, a place in the world tucked away in time, immune from western influence.”
Check out the book and see if you think he succeeded. If you’ve visited Cuba, you’ll be reminded of the island’s unique character. If you haven’t, you’ll enjoy getting a peek through Garcia’s stereotype-smashing photos.