Photographs by V.D.
Bold Publishing, Amsterdam, 2009. 210 pp., Numerous color illustrations, 7½x11".
Media coverage and stereotypical discussions about places around the world have a major effect on people’s perception of the others and their existence. Modern myths are being created all the time. This is hardly more the case when people, generally trapped in history and ideology, talk about Cuba and its political, economical and cultural landscape. V.D. fell in love with Cuba in 1997 and has visited the country six times since then. He befriended an Afro-Cuban family, explored the space, the people, the streets, the pictures from the past, the impossible relations… through different media, through fake diaries, words, poetry, through layers of different kinds of images; collages that were never finished. Beyond History recounts the lives of young Cubans in Centro Habana and is a stage for their voices. Fragments taken from their small, abandoned island in the city Havana, before the end of the Castro dictatorship. V.D. also befriended Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Cuba’s most famous and notorious writer, whose writing has been labeled ‘dirty realism’. Dirty realism is a North American literary movement born in the 1970s-80s, which is a derivation from minimalism. As minimalism, dirty realism is characterized by an economy with words and a focus on surface description. Charles Bukowski is considered the godfather of dirty realism.
Somewhere between a photographic version of new journalism, the humanities and documentary photography, V.D. is like the author of an autobiography who - by filling up the undocumented blanks with his fantasy- reveals more about reality than merely the facts could do. Beyond History could also be considered a manifesto against photojournalism, against propaganda from the inside and the outside, against tourist maps and exoticism.