Arts, On Campus

Photographer Yusnaby Perez Offers a Glance At ‘The Other Side of Cuba’

In a new exhibit on the first floor of O’Neill Library, students can journey to another part of the world. Through Beyond the Postcard: The Other Side of Cuba, lasting from April 1 to April 30, students have the chance to explore the reality of life in Cuba in light of the recent political cooling between the country and the United States.

The exhibit features the photography of Yusnaby Perez, who has his own blog where he shows the lives of people in Cuba through photographs, letters, and op-eds. The Cuban Student Association and Boston College libraries sponsored the exhibit.

There are 26 photos displayed across the walls of the small studying space. The photographs vary in style and composition, from portraits of the country’s people, streets, or buildings, to the organic scenery that one sees every day in the cities. All of the photographs are very saturated with color, which adds a graphic depth to much of the exhibit.

Perez’s focus on daily life and his attempt to thread a story behind the photos is something that is becoming more popular on the Internet. Humans of New York, run by Andrew Stanton, is an example of another photographer who shows the lives of people in a city. Similar to Stanton’s work, Perez’s photos effortlessly demonstrate the hardships that people in Cuba face.

People of all ages are featured in the photographs. The streets and living conditions of Cuba clearly appear to be run down. Houses look like they could collapse at anytime. Streets are poorly paved, and people are shown to live in close proximity to one another. The inherent and visceral struggle of the poor is one of the exhibits’ most striking and important aspects. The faces of the citizens display the hardships of not having enough money for food or for their children, and the struggles of living in a communist country.

While Perez often highlights the struggle in Cuba, he does hint at the hope that exists in these communities as well. Perez sets scenes of hardships, but within those scenes is often a bright, unadulterated smile.

It was not until Perez first left Cuba on a trip to Switzerland that he discovered what true freedom was like. With the help of photographers like Perez, students can view the harsh and difficult reality that many people in different countries face without actually stepping into that specific country.

Now that U.S. citizens can travel freely to Cuba, there will be a natural influx of tourists that visit the island. Though it may be hard on visitors to see the struggles that Cubans face, there is a lot of beauty that Cuba can offer. By having more photographers like Perez feature the realities of different countries, people can become more aware of and begin to fix problems that exist in places like Cuba.

Featured Images By Arthur Bailin/ Heights Editor

April 12, 2015