Havana Unbound

By Lenora Jane Estes

Cuba—once referred to as “that unhappy island” by President John F. Kennedy—is often portrayed in a negative, faded frame, with destitute streets and abandoned American automobiles. From March 2009 to July 2010, photographer Michael Dweck aimed to capture the secret side of Castro’s Communist capital, with all of its combustible energy, from the often overlooked yet alluring perspective of its artistic elite. With the release of his new book, Michael Dweck: Habana Libre (Damiani Editore), and a traveling exhibit of the same name, on display in San Francisco and headed to New York City, Dweck reveals provocative, intoxicating images of Cuba’s creative class, including the rarely photographed sons of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. Despite the nation’s political strife and poor economic standing, Dweck’s contemporary collection—made possible by his inside access to the country’s ascending generation, and excerpted here in a preview for VF.com —is surprisingly rich. Related slide shows: “Montauk’s New Wave” and “Imagining Mermaids.”

Back To Top