LASA (Latin American Studies Association) XXXIII Annual Conference

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


An island of Pleasure gone adrift: Henri Cartier-Bresson in Havana (1963)

Since their emergence, photographs taken by foreign photographers following the 1959 Cuban Revolution have been used to memorialize a critical historical moment in global history. With respect to Cuba and the city of Havana, these now iconic images have performed a central role in the commemoration of the “dream” of revolution, with an underlying theme of the “everyday” interlinking the work of these different photographers. Moreover, their photographs also form the basis for later projections of Havana as both a real-and-imagined space that have emerged in the global imaginary since 1959. This paper will analyse a photographic essay produced as part of an assignment for Life magazine by the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson in February 1963. During this trip he spent five weeks in Cuba just four months after increasingly strained relations between the island and the United States culminated in the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. My analysis will explore the way in which Cartier-Bresson’s photo-essay contributed to visual constructions of Havana and will consider the re-circulation and reception of these photographs since their publication.
Period27 May 201530 May 2015
Event typeConference
LocationSan Juan, Puerto Rico, Puerto RicoShow on map