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The Unseen Cuba

The Unseen Cuba

The Unseen Cuba
Combining insights and exquisite imagery, the Unseen Cuba provides us with a rare and accessible insight into the photographic works of Allen Jenkins. This series of portraits have been created thanks to repeated visits to the island over a period of fifteen years starting with the first trip back in 1995 commissioned by the National Union of Miners (NUM) to the most recent trip in 2009.

Allen evokes unseen aspects of this fascinating society that we know so little about. The first pictures he took there are of a community of copper miners from the village of Matahambre, a small mining town in Pinar del Rio (120 miles West of Havana). Allen has created a series of gritty images that capture the strength and camaraderie of this community of men who had lived through the Cuban revolution and had seen the changes in their country from capitalism to communism.

On later journeys, 1997-98, Allen went on to photograph the street scenes and colonial buildings of Havana, crumbling remnants of part imperial wealth, capturing the rich mixtures and relics of cultures that made Cuban such a colorful country. He then produced a number of images of local surfers and swimmers that were keen to display their skills and proud characters as were the boxers and musicians that he documented. Each showing a genuine pride, dedication and passion in whatever they did. On his most recent visit to Havana in 2009 Allen documented the historical Partagas-Cohiba cigar factory.

This timeless collection of photographic images has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. The photographs are handmade and have been carefully printed and tones to emphasize the warmth and cigar stained atmosphere of the weather beaten Cuban characters. A captivating and timeless series of photographs brought to us through the eyes of an admirer of Cuban culture as much as a sensitive observer of people and life.

Extract from the Introduction to The Unseen Cuba

In his own words:
‘My first trip to Cuba was actually triggered by my Welsh stepfather. He asked me to join a miners’ union delegation to the country in 1994 and act as a translator for a solidarity campaign between Cuba and the UK mining community. I translated for the UK miners and politicians as they created a bond between the two communities. I also spent time at the mines and got involved in taking photos of the event. The photography was incredibly real and insightful and made me feel very much alive. It helped me see life from a different perspective.

The mining community photos are special for me because my stepfather was a miner and it’s a dying industry. Also a lot of my family are from the valleys in Wales, so there is an obvious link. These images not only stand the test of time, they represent the strength and camaraderie of hardworking men, where honour, pride, and trust is essential. Those memories are the strongest for me and it’s the starting point to my collection, book, and series.’
Allan Jenkins
Allen Jenkins
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Allan Jenkins (born 1969) is a fine Art Photographer born in Wales, raised in Catalunya (Spain) , educated in Madrid, Tarragona and Yorkshire, and finally in London where he’s been living since 1993. He is best known for his hand printed images of Still life, figurative work and Portraiture.

He combines his interests in peoples identities with his fine Art background, to create a wide range of travel documentary images as well as working at his studio in London on more traditional portrait sittings , still life set ups and vintage alternative printing techniques.

Allan has a visual fascination with identity and multiculturism that is mirrored by his own upbringing, this has been instrumental in creating a unique approach to his photography. He combines a graphic finesse with an almost spiritual like quality of calm and serenity in his photographs. His distinctive treatment of portraiture is instantly recognizable and although his work is divided into various categories the link of his style remains identifiable in all of them.

His work has been shown in galleries, museums and Art fairs worldwide , from Asia, Europe and the United States. As a guest lecturer, Allan has taught advanced photography lectures at Central St Martins focusing on b/w analogue photography and 19th century printing techniques. He has also recently started teaching Photographic Master class workshops in London , Spain and France , including tuition for the “Leica Moscow Akademie” and a short film for ADOBE that combines traditional photography with current digital software .

Allan’s photos have been published in numerous books and magazines, such as Conde Nast Traveller , Elle magazine , Eve and Random House Mondadori book covers. His clients range from Ralph Lauren to Ikea , the BBC and most recently PWC , Jose Cuervo Tequila , , Candy and Candy and many more.

Allan is represented in London by Hackelbury Fine Art and his work can been seen at the Kensington gallery or at his North London studio , STUDIO 46. All of his photographs are carefully printed with the best materials available and are all part of limited editions. January 2013

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