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Cesar Augusto’s, The Soul of Cuba

Cesar Augusto’s, The Soul of Cuba

About the Soul of Cuba After 20 years in exile, photographer Cesar Augusto returned to his native country of Cuba to create “The Soul of Cuba,” a large hardcover book featuring more than 100 powerful photographs taken in the Caribbean island.

Cesar Augusto learned his craft in the capital city of Havana but, after having his work repeatedly censored, he left his homeland shortly after earning his university degree. He arranged for post-graduate work in Moscow and requested political asylum in Ireland during his flight’s lay-over. “Cuba has been the place of my dreams and nightmares for the last 20 years. It was a beautiful prison from which I escaped. It is the most enduring pain, to be able only to imagine the place were you were born, where you were first loved, as a faded and decaying paradise. I knew I would not be capable of making “postcards” or travelogue photos, because that is not how I see Cuba.” He makes this visual statement clear by his choice of an opening photo: the weather-beaten wooden door of a turn-of-the-century limestone building with the word “Paraiso” chiseled above the doorway.

Cesar debated over returning to the island, in part because of the controversy that exists around Cuba, but also because of a fear of how he might find the economically challenged nation. “Contrary to what I expected, Cuba still has a vibrancy that impressed me more than the decrepit buildings or the relatively sparsely stocked stores. Everywhere I looked, people were renovating their homes and opening micro businesses. In fact, I confess that I hardly recognized some of the most familiar places, like my old neighborhood.”

The images in this book, captured through the lens of a native son, reflect the bitter and the sweet of the realization that “you can’t go home again” but you can find a new appreciation for an old love. Without succumbing to easy nostalgia, some photos are beautifully poignant while others show the energy and determination of a people who are not just surviving but thriving, on their own terms.

The book will be released at the end of July 2012 and is available through pre-sale now. Later this year Cesar Augusto will launch “The Soul of Cuba” tour, featuring large scale prints from the book and other opportunities to experience Cuban culture through food and music. About Cesar Augusto I was born in 1969 in Havana, Cuba and began making photographs as a child. My father, a professional photographer, brought me to shoots and the darkroom, teaching me every aspect of the process of making a photograph.

During my teenager years, I worked as a photographer in several photo studios in Havana. I started as a photographer’s assistant and then worked as a professional photographer.

Immediately after high school I began working for the Cuban Navy as a photographer documenting military maneuvers across Cuba.

In 1989, I was admitted as a photography student to the highly competitive Instituto Superior de Arte, Cuba’s most prestigious art university. I started making short films and eventually switched my major to Motion Picture Directing. I graduated in 1994 with offers to direct some of the island’s top talent.

I continue to photograph everything around me hoping to communicate my vision to those who like my work.

I’m commercially represented in the US by S:B Reps and in Mexico by Esfera Photo. My fine art work is represented by The Chicago Art Source Gallery and by The Chicago Project (Edelman Gallery) July 2012

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