Ernesto Bazan eschews the title of “documentary photographer” when I try to describe him before our chat. He prefer to be known as a photographer who creates intimate, personal stories. Looking at his images (see below), you’ll immediately get that about him. For the last 20 or so years, he is committed to telling those stories of the people and the island of Cuba. His work, developed over time is a response more than a reaction. The images, whether they are from Bazan Cuba, Al Campo or his latest book, Isla, all originate from his heart.
Bazan, is originally from Palermo, Sicily, but now lives in Veracruz, Mexico. From 1992 to 2006, Bazan committed himself to Cuba out of sheer curiosity. Instead of parachuting in and out of the country like a lot of photographers do, Bazan chose to live among the island’s people and get to know them in a way only a native Cuban would or could.
The strength of his images are a testament to his resolve to immerse himself in whatever he chooses to photograph. Bazan is the recipient of a number of awards and grants including, The W. Eugene Smith grant; the Mother Jones Foundation for Photojournalism, the Dorothea Lang Paul Taylor prize at Duke University, N.C., the World Press Photo and two fellowships from the Alicia Patterson Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation.
It was an honor to speak with him as he launched his Kickstarter campaign to fund his latest book, ISLA.
It is my hope that you will find a way to support Bazan’s Kickstarter campaign and make the printing of this important book a reality. The success of this campaign will fuel future independent photography book projects by Bazan and his students and other collaborators through Bazan Photos Publishing.
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Thank you for this wonderful and insightful interview Seshu.