A photo by Ernesto Bazan shows a cigar factory worker while she begins her shift by rolling a cigar (1997). Behind her, on the wall, are inscribed the words “Viva el 1ro de Mayo”

Cuba Bazan by Ernesto Bazan, BazanPhotos Publishing, 2008. © Ernesto Bazan. Large format retrieved from Everyday I Show.

This photo shot in 1997 is part of the self-publish book Cuba Bazan which won the Best Photography Book of the Year Award at the New York Photo Festival in 2009. It shows a cigar factory worker while she begins her shift by rolling a cigar. Behind her, on the wall, one can read the inscription “Viva el 1ro de Mayo” (a celebration of the International Workers’s Day or May Day). The photo is also included in a story on tobacco growing and cigars in Cuba (also by Ernesto Bazan).

From The New York Times’s LENS blog:

Mr. Bazan’s book documents that parallel and heartbreaking reality, devoid of color but rich in gritty black-and-white textures. He captures the stoic pride of the guajiros, farmers with rough hands and strong faces. Inside a store filled with empty shelves, a bored caretaker — how could he be a salesman if there is nothing to sell? — sits at a counter. Penitents in Havana seek divine intercession crawling on their hands to the shrine of St. Lazarus. Or they haul crosses, oblivious to the revolutionary slogans that no longer put food on the table or hope in their hearts. (“Showcase: Sisyphean Days in Cuba” by David Gonzalez, September 30, 2009)

To learn more about Ernesto Bazan, consider the following links:

  • Everyday I Show has 41 large format photos (both black & white and color).
  • Enersto Bazan official website bazanphotos.com and as well as the main website for his book Cuba Bazan bazancuba.com The website has a preview of the book as well an introduction by Ernesto Bazan, photos of the making of the book, link to reviews, etc.
  • NPR: “Ernesto Bazan’s Vision Of Cuba” by Heather Murphy, July 7, 2009.
  • See also the video interview “Talking with Ernesto Bazan” produced in 2011 by Peruvian photographer Luigi Abanto Varese (it comes with English subtitles). Watch it below:


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