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Revolution/Evolution by Jack Kenny

Revolution/Evolution by Jack Kenny

120 pages – Hardcover 11.5” x11.5” 100# McCoy Silk 106 Duo-tone
Ann Arbor, MI USA
ISBN 0-9768349-056500 Cuban life, beauty and complexity – in black and white
‘Kenny begins his book with a journey that takes us “Around the Island” with a selection of photographs from various provinces, touching on numerous themes. Most are portraits, either intimate or environmental, with the occasional landscape to set the scene. Many of his portraits are piercing, eyes locked on the lens, as if the person is looking through to communicate something of their reality with the viewer. The pictures are striking on many levels and introduce us to the themes that run through this book. We see families, elders, religion, agriculture, architecture, youth and, of course, cigars, vintage cars and revolutionary imagery.

“Diving on the Malecon” is among the best, evoking the work of the great Hungarian photographer Martin Munkacsi), it is the sum of the pictures presented that paint a portrait of the city in all its vibrancy. In Kenny’s Havana, vintage cars share the road with bicycles, and laundry hangs to dry in brilliant whiteness. Groups of people gather to play games, vendors vend, hair is cut, fingernails painted, elaborate tattoos revealed. Lovers stroll Kenny’s streets. Except for the city’s stunning backdrop, this explosion of life could be anywhere, which may be Kenny’s point.

Contrary to popular belief in the U.S., the people of Cuba are mostly a happy and vital lot, going about the business of life much as everyone else. If there is repression, it’s not visible in these streets. If there is poverty, it’s not of the wrenching kind that we see in the war-torn parts of the world that dominate our news. Kenny’s Cuba is full of hope, inspiration and beauty. ‘

Extract from a review first published in People’s Weekly World by Scott Vlaun (, who is a writer, photographer and co-founder of Moose Pond Arts and Ecology in Otisfield, Maine

“I do not believe in the ‘impartial objectivity’ of photography. In another sense, a place, subject or topic can be seen in many different ways. The most common way is from the outside in, resulting in the superficial point of view of an “outsider”. The other way is from the inside out, becoming a part of your topic or subject to try to arrive at the center of what you want to say. This is the work of Jack Kenny.”

Roberto Salas is a member of the “Cuban Epic Photographers” of the sixties.

“What is most special about Jack Kenny’s photographs is the way he has captured a striking characteristic of Cuba: its sense of intimacy. Getting to know Cuba is like being pulled into the warmth of a family. That shared intimacy — between Cubans, between photographer and subject, between a Cuban and his or her emotional and physical landscape — is what is touching and unusual about the people there. There are few barriers between “them” and “us.” These photographs will make you want to be there, in Cuba, with these enticingly direct people.”

Sandra Levinson, Center for Cuban Studies, New York City Jack Kenny
I have been shooting photographic nudes for more than 40 years. Initially I just did personal work – traditional B&W torsos on medium format film in the studio. Since the switch to digital I have entered other areas of the medium. I now shoot everything from fine art B&W to erotica. I am currently working on three series: Nudes with Pears, The Yellow Dress, a series, featuring a 1962 yellow Homecoming dress, and Mexicali, my newest project based on the works of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and several Mexican photographers such as Flor Garduno, and the iconography of Mexico.

I have done documentary photography in the American West and in Mexico prior to my work in Cuba.

I started photographing Cuba in April, of 1996 and I have traveled to the island 45 times since my first trip. My first project was the site Cuba-photo,com, a free use web site (for educators and students), aimed at imaging Cuba at the street level. My goal was to help end the embargo and to give people a more honest look at life in Cuba than is generally presented in the U.S. I have had numerous one-man and group shows of my work which includes extensive photo documentation of Cuba. In 2005, I published an award winning 12×12 B&W coffee table book of life in Cuba. I am a lecturer on Cuba for schools, universities and service clubs. My work is in numerous collections.

My current show “Cuba: Revolution/Evolution” features the work of Osvaldo & Roberto Salas (B&W images of the Cuban Revolution), contrasted with my B&W images from my book and color images from my site. The exhibition will include approximately 40 prints and a brief commentary to the opening night crowd. It is my hope to bring Roberto Salas to Michigan and to do a follow-up show in Grand Rapids, MI in the fall.

I make my living as a commercial photographer and do the fine art and documentary work as an escape from that world.   Photographer 1317 Pontiac Trail
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 734-395-1265     April 2013

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