Summary of Cuban photographers
This article aims to summarize in a single post the vast majority of Cuban photographers that can be found on the internet, mainly through searches in google and wikipedia, this list of Cuban photographers is not ordered by quality order even in alphabetical order, it does not have a specific order, it only tries to show in a simple way the wide range of Cuban artists and photographers both old (some of them are no longer alive) and the most current.
Many of the descriptions that are made are translations of other websites mainly wikipedia and others of my personal knowledge.
In the 1940s he attended commercial classes at Candler College and the Havana Business Academy, both located in Havana. Along with Luis Pierce (Luis Korda) he founded the Korda studios, where he worked between 1953 and 1968, in which they carried out all kinds of commercial work. Although his education is self-taught, he learned photography at the beginning with Newton Estapé and later with Luis Pierce. With the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, he worked for the Revolution and accompanied Fidel Castro as a photographer in different journeys that the Cuban leader made in those years. 1960 was the year that would change his life, since it was during this year that he made the famous photograph El Guerrillero Heroico, which is considered one of the ten best photographic portraits of all time and is the most reproduced of the History of photography around the world. He was the founder of underwater photography in Cuba. In 1968 he dedicated himself to the Institute of Oceanology of the Academy of Sciences, doing the Atlas of Cuban choirs.
His photographic work has been exhibited in the main galleries of the European continent and in America, as well as in other parts of the world.
Raúl Corrales Fornos
He was born in Ciego de Ávila, Cuba, on January 29, 1925. He died on April 15, 2006, in Cojímar, Havana, Cuba. All his life he worked as a photographer of multiple publications. Since 1961 he was a founding member of the Photography Section of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), Havana. In 1998, he appears at the beginning of the documentary Buena Vista Social Club, showing some of his most famous photographs.
Eduardo Muñoz Ordoqui is a cuban photographer and a photography professor born in Havana, Cuba. He received a Master in Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 and a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree in History of Art from the University of Havana in 1990. Muñoz Ordoqui’s photographic work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in Europe, Latin America, China, and United States. He received a U.S. Fulbright Scholar grant for 2016-2017, a Cintas Foundation Fellowship in 1998, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1997. His photographs are held in private and institutional collections in the Americas and Europe. He has taught photography for more than ten years at institutions of higher education, including St. Edward’s University and the University of Texas at Austin.
Marta María Pérez Bravo (born 1959) is a Cuban artist who is best known for her black-and-white self-portraiture, in which she often uses her own body as the central subject-object to express her own belief in,and practice of, Afro-Cuban religions, particularly Santeria and Palo Monte. Much of her art is informed by this practice, and engages with the themes of ritual, motherhood and femininity, expressed through the highly stylized posing of her body, which is placed in relation to personally and ritually significant objects in her self-portraits.
Pérez Bravo initially studied painting in Havana at the San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts (1979) and the Instituto Superior de Arte (1984). Although she studied painting while at the Instituto Superior de Arte, she became interested in photography while working on her senior thesis at the latter, and has primarily used this medium since.
She lived in Havana until 1995 when she moved to Monterrey, Mexico, with her family, where she currently resides and works. Pérez Bravo was part of a generation of Cuban artists born immediately following the Cuban Revolution, and was one of those who went into exile following the collapse of the Special Period at the end of the 1980.
Osvaldo Salas. Featured Cuban photographer.
His work has a great patrimonial value and is part of the narrow group of creators that gave rise to the so-called “epic photography in Cuba”.
He was born in Havana on March 29, 1914. In 1926 he studied at the School of Fine Arts “San Alejandro”, Havana, Cuba (without concluding).
From his early youth he had settled in New York. He was a welding mechanic and suffered an accident that prevented him from doing rough work so he began to specialize in what is called “bank welding”. The photograph attracted her attention, but she could only dedicate herself to it in the late 1940s, after having exercised other trades to support the family. In 1943 he started working in a laboratory of the International Telegraph and Telephone Company and in that place there was a photography club. He began to interact with photographers and when the war ended he already had his small camera.
In 1946 he won his first photography prize at that club. He combined the work of a welder with that of a photographer until he decided on the second. He installed a studio on 50th Street in Manhattan and soon took the pulse of graphic reporterism.
Between 1950 and 1958 he achieved true prestige as a photographer and to that period correspond the images of Marilyn Monroe, Dalí, Sara Montiel, Elizabeth Taylor and sportsmen Joe Di Maggio and Rocky Marciano among others.
He collaborated in newspapers and periodicals in the United States, Argentina, Mexico and Cuba.
Plastic cuban Artist – Professional Photographer
Member of the Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC)
Master’s degree in Microsoft, Cristobal Colon University, Veracruz México. 2011-2012
The Maine university Photographic Workshops, master classes taught by Davis Alan Harvey from National Geographic, Stacy Boge from Maine and David Wells from Magnum, 2000.
Higher Institute of Industrial Design ( ISDI) and Photojournalism 1987-1991
San Alejandro Plastic Arts Academy 1984-1987
Abelardo Morell was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948. He immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1962. Morell received his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and his MFA from The Yale University School of Art. He has received an honorary degree from Bowdoin College in 1997 and from Lesley University in 2014.
His publications include a photographic illustration of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland(1998) by Dutton Children’s Books, A Camera in a Room(1995) by Smithsonian Press, A Book of Books(2002) and Camera Obscura (2004) by Bulfinch Press andAbelardo Morell(2005), published by Phaidon Press. The Universe Next Door(2013), published by The Art Institute of Chicago. Tent-Camera (2018), published by Nazraeli Press. His most recent body of work Flowers for Lisawill be published by Abrams in October 2018.
He has received a number of awards and grants, which include a Guggenheim fellowship in 1994 and an Infinity Award in Art from ICP in 2011. In November 2017, he received a Lucie Award for achievement in fine art.
His work has been collected and shown in many galleries, institutions and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, The Chicago Art Institute, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Houston Museum of Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Victoria & Albert Museum and over seventy other museums in the United States and abroad. A retrospective of his work organized jointly by the Art Institute of Chicago, The Getty in Los Angeles and The High Museum in Atlanta closed in May 2014 after a year of travel. This November, he will have a show of his work Flowers for Lisa on display at Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York City.
Herman Puig (or German Puig).
Born in Havana, Cuba. He studied painting and sculpture in Cuba and Audio Visual Techniques in Paris. He started his work on male nudes in Paris nearly 20 years ago, after being assistant to Henri Langlois Director of the Cinemateque Française.
He founded the Cinemateca de Cuba in 1951.
He has worked in film and visual marketing in Spain and has had exhibitions in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Huelva, Mallorca, Hamburg, Stutgart and Miami, Florida. Herman Puig currently lives in Barcelona, Spain.
“Although Herman is somewhat eccentric personally, his photography is not. His use of black and white is simplicity itself. Their content looks not to impress or shock the viewer into appreciation or reflection, but dares to be simple, beautiful, and bold.” Robert Alan Hall.
From 1964 through 1979, Castaneda cooperated as photographer with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Teatro Musical de La Habana, the Ministry of Culture, and also as a freelancer photographed for publishers such as Cuba Magazine.
In 1979, Castaneda moved to Spain, and, having started working in “The Image Bank“ stock agency, travelled over the whole of Europe. Before 1985, he also collaborated with Spanish periodical publishers, as well as with some government organizations, including the Ministry of Tourism, Radio Televisión Española and The Madrid City Hall. For his “tourist” images Luis Castaneda received the “Ortiz-Echagüe” Award.
In 1986, Castaneda left Spain and moved to Miami, Florida, USA, where he currently lives. He has worked with The National Fund for Advancement in the Arts, several Ballet companies like Miami City Ballet, Ballet Concerto, Ballet Etudes, Spanish Ballet Rosita Segovia, and with South Florida theaters “The Coconut Grove”.
Castaneda’s work has been published in various publications. He has published three books and had international exhibitions. His photo articles have been published in magazines Leica Fotografie Intl. (Germany), Leica Magazine (Italia), Panasonic NEWS (Switzerland), Foto & Video (Russia), Photoworld (China). He edits regular rubric in Popular Photography magazine (Beijing). Camera manufacturers Panasonic, Hasselblad, Leica and Minox use Castaneda’s images for advertising purposes.
In 1993, Castaneda received “Master of the Leica” Award. In 1998, on photokina exhibition in Cologne (Germany) he was offered to enter the Italian “Gruppo Fotografico Leica”. He was also awarded “Golden Eye of Russia” prize by International Guild of Russian Media professional photographers (2006).
He is widely known for his image series of Iceland landscapes, made with the Panasonic Lumix LX5 compact camera.
Castaneda holds master classes and photo seminars.
The son of a North American miner and a Jamaican mother, Luis Antonio Peirce Byres was born in Manzanillo, Cuba. In 1956 he founded the Havana photography studio Korda Studios with Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez. The name of the company came from the famous Hungarian-British film directors Alexander and Zoltan Korda, and both photographers came to be known by the name: Luis was known as Korda the Elder (Luis Korda) and Alberto as Korda the Younger (Alberto Korda). The range of work by the company spanned fashion and traditional advertising shoots, as well as shoots for recording labels, insurance, pharmaceuticals, promotional work for Bacardi and Hatuey, car dealerships etc. Photo journalism was also part of the studio’s output, reporting, for example, on the most famous Cuban motor racing event, the Carrera from Oinar del Rio via Saua la Grande to Havanna. By October 1956 the two photographers had relocated their studio to apartment 2, on the first floor of a building just opposite the emerging Hotel Capri on Calle 21 (No. 15, entre N y O) in Vedado and a few weeks later they changed the name of the company to Studios Korda.
The members of the Korda Studios community distinguished themselves through the variety of the commissions and reporting taken on by the individual artists, a fact demonstrated by the neutral but ever-changing studio stamp which appears on the back of each of the prints. Luis was a distinguished photographer, and above all was very technically gifted. However, he was not a gifted businessman, and thus he showed no particular drive to gain commissions. It can be assumed that the majority of the output of the studio came from his partner, Alberto. Alberto Díaz acted primarily as photographer and travel companion of Fidel Castro, with whom he had a close relationship, and also Ernesto Guevara, whom he saw as rather arrogant – a personal view he shared with many other photographers.
Luis Korda’s most famous image is also the most important photo of the Cuban revolution, showing the revolutionaries entering Havana on the 8th January 1959 with Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos at the head of the procession.
The fear that Studio Korda, a privately held company, could fall victim to nationalisation, drove Alberto Diaz and Luis Peirce to bequeath it to the Oficina de Asuntos Historicos in November 1966 (lead at the time by Celia Sanchez), along with any negatives relating to the Revolution. Yet two years later, on the 14th March 1968, in the absence of the two Kordas, the company was officially closed as part of the last wave of nationalisation; the artwork was seized and given to the Oficina de Asuntos Historicos. The majority of the commercial and fashion photographs by Alberto, Luis and their later associate Genovevo Vasquez were lost, and with them an important and hitherto little-understood chapter in the history of Cuban photography.
After the closure of Korda Studios, Luis Korda worked for the satirical weekly magazine Palante and for the weekly magazine Bohemia. He died in Havana.
- Juan Carlos Alom
The art of creating and interpreting images is akin to translating my spirit. My camera is the compass that guides me and I am grateful to it. Everywhere I have lived, I have delivered myself to light, shadows and to those details that, however minimal they may seem, have made me tremble and convert them into images.
I had hardly begun working as a photojournalist when the scarcity brought about by the Soviet Union’s collapse obliged me to experiment, shaping my artistic vision into one that is driven by precariousness, spontaneity and the necessity to focus on distinct themes such as Afro-Cuban religion, youth, longitude. Even more than those isolated themes, my idiosyncrasy, as both a filmmaker and photographer, entails the quest to document the impossible. For instance, in Habana solo, I begged to concretize the most intimate musical expression through my cinematographic images and to convert the city’s noises into music, but my persistent dissatisfaction with concretizing the impossible led to my photographic series entitled Dressing Room where photographs of musicians in “private” attempt to peak into the depths of their individual expression.
I am committed to the value of artistic liberty. I dream about forging a career that, aspires to resemble a Thelonious Monk composition, with dissonance, twists and endless risk-taking.
Arien Chang Castán was born in Havana, on December 29th, 1979. At the beginnings of his career as an artist, he devoted himself to painting, and later discovered in photography both the expression of his personality and a way to document recondite settings in Cuba. His work has been shown in exhibitions like Realidad Oculta (Hidden Reality), at Luz y Oficios Gallery (Havana, 2009), Long e Vidad (Longevity), at Fototeca de Cuba (Cuban Photographic Library) (Havana, 2010), and A través de mis ojos (Through my Eyes), at X88 Gallery (Sidney, 2013). He has participated in group projects such as Alfredo Sarabia in memorian (Pinar del Río, 2009), Sacrificio (Sacrifice), at Fototeca de Cuba (2009) (Cuban Photographic Library, 2009), Photo Visura Festival (New York, 2010), Borderless (11th Biennial Exhibition of Havana, 2012 Cuba Collaboration, Emerald Art Center (Oregon, 2013), Gulliver, Freies Museum Berlin (2012), El agua, lo femenino y lo masculino (The Water, The Feminine, The Masculine), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts)(La Habana, 2013), and Bi-personal Exhibition with Leysis Quesada, Calpoly University (California, 2013). He has given lectures at Cuban Ludwig Foundation (2007), at the Photography Workshop of the Cuban Writers and Artists Union (Union de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba) (2009/2010), to Plastic Art students at the Higher Institute of Art (Havana, 2011), at La fotografía documental en La Habana Workshop (Taller La fotografía documental en La Habana) , Santa Fe Workshop (2011/2012), to groups from National Geographic (2011/2012), at in Noviembre fotográfico (Photographic November), Fototeca de Cuba (Cuban Photographic Library) (2012). He has obtained the creation scholarships Raúl Corrales (La Habana, 2009), Red Gate Residency (Beijing, 2013), and Habana Cultura 3ra. Edición (Havana Culture 3rd Edition) (2013).
Alfredo Sarabia (son)
Born in Havana in 1986, Alfredo Sarabia is the son of Cuban photographer Alfredo Sarabia (1951–1992). A graduate of the Academia San Alejandro in Cuba and the Higher Institute of Art in Havana, he took part in a number of group exhibitions at the Ludwig de Cuba Foundation.
Nelson y Liudmila
Liudmila Velasco & Nelson Ramirez de Arellano Conde have been working together for more than 25 years. The duo considers their artistic partnership—as Liudmila & Nelson—to be a “symbol of dialogue and teamwork.” Their projects focus primarily on understanding “Cuban reality” and include research about the history and uses of photography. For their project “Waking a Sleeping Beauty, Le Daguerreotype Susse Frere,” they used an original Daguerreotype camera from 1839 to produce contemporary images through a vintage lens.
Liudmila was born in Moscow; Nelson is from Berlin, both live and work in Havana. Parallel to his work as an artist Nelson also works as Director of the Fototeca de Cuba, Cuban National Center for Photography in Havana. He was chief curator at the Fototeca de Cuba from 2001 to 2010, and created the Havana Photo Festival “Noviembre Fotográfico” that has been active since 2006.
The collaborative work of Liudmila & Nelson has been exhibited worldwide in international exhibitions and art biennials, including representing Cuba at the Venice Biennale in 2013.