Susan Bank Statement

Artist Statement
I am working with campesinos and their families from the tobacco- growing region of Pinar del Rio Province, Cuba, exploring an agrarian culture in which there are no modern conveniences. I am working with people who have never been photographed before. What a rare gift to be handed a photographer!

My objective as an artist/explorer is to create a visual poetry from the raw, essential details of daily life. My intention is to transcend the reality of what is there, to dig deeper on a more intimate level and to confront the enigma of human nature.

With time, they have accepted my 'otherness' as extranjera (foreigner) and photographer. I feel a sense of urgency to continue this project, as life in el campo will change.

In the fall of 2005 electricity arrived in el campo, along with television sets and CD players, a gift from an association of French business people.Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in late summer 2008 destroyed much of what I had photographed after the book was published and I am returning the photograph the aftermath.

Process Statement
I work with a hand-held Leica M6 camera and available light.The selenium-toned fibre prints are made by Robert Asman.

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