Making Home in Havana

Cecelia Lawless, Photographs by Vincenzo Pietropaolo
Making Home in Havana is an elegant book of photographs and testimonies, recording, questioning, and evoking the meaning of place — in particular, the search for home and place in Havana, a splendid city that has been in a state of physical decline for decades. Much of the extraordinary architecture of this historic city is rapidly disappearing. As Cuban society finds itself at a crossroads, Havana is more than ever a city on the edge: frozen in time as a consequence of Fidel Castro's revolution, yet not been well preserved. Time, climate, and neglect have eroded one of the most unique architectural legacies in the Americas, making the need to document this heritage even more pressing than ever before. The combination of fine photography and the words of the residents of Havana themselves, the photographer and the author convey the essence of what home means to the inhabitants of the El Vedado and Centro Habana neighbourhoods. It is a visual story of how a building or a structure of a house evolves into a “home” through its human history as well as its architectural features. Residents of Havana tell their stories of lifelong efforts to turn decay into beauty, in poignant words recorded by the author. The photographer's moving documentary portraits interspersed with his evocative colour pictures of the buildings, enable us to feel exactly what they are talking about-a creation of time and space called home.

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