New book de­tails Cuba in pic­tures

Waitaki Herald - - NEWS - By NI­COLA WOLFE

Au­thor Liz Cado­gan will launch a new book at a talk at the li­brary next week.

The book is a pho­to­graphic es­say of her trip to Cuba in 2014.

Cado­gan said the orig­i­nal in­ten­tion for her trip was to pho­to­graph old clas­sic cars. The book, how­ever, is so much more.

‘‘I fell in love and came home with a mass of street photography of Ha­vana,’’ she said.

Cado­gan spent three weeks pho­tograph­ing in the streets of the cap­i­tal city, tak­ing shots of peo­ple, their lives and ac­tiv­i­ties.

She was amazed by the coun­try’s ‘‘sim­plic­ity, friend­li­ness and gen­eral as­pect of well­be­ing’’. ‘‘Their main streets have a sim­i­lar set-out to Thames St but they didn’t have any­thing in the way of shops,’’ she said.

‘‘ There were no depart­ment stores. No malls. No fast-food out­lets. Limited menus at restau­rants. It took me ages to find an ATM. It was like step­ping back in time.’’

It was a plea­sure to meet the lo­cals too, she said.

Cado­gan did not know Span­ish but said she was still able to com­mu­ni­cate through means like hand ges­tures.

‘‘They were a very re­spect­ful peo­ple, lovely and friendly. I felt very safe.’’

Cado­gan said it was nice to be in cul­ture that had not been overly Amer­i­can­ised, though she was sad­dened by the prospect of the two coun­tries re­la­tions mov- ing closer to­gether.

‘‘It per­turbs me that Amer­i­can in­flu­ences will to­tally change them. They are look­ing for­ward to it, like the grass is greener on the other side.’’

Fol­low­ing her time in Cuba, Cado­gan spent time in New York do­ing a photo com­par­i­son study. She also pro­duced a clas­sic car cal­en­dar from the pho­tos she took of cars.

Cado­gan hoped the talk at the li­brary would en­cour­age peo­ple to visit the coun­try now, be­fore it’s Amer­i­can­ised.

‘‘ Dozens of peo­ple have said [Cuba] is on their bucket list. ‘‘I think it’s such a unique coun­try. It shouldn’t just be on a bucket list.’’

Hear Cado­gan’s talk about her time in Cuba on Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 26, at the Oa­maru Public Li­brary at 6pm.

Back in time: A typ­i­cal hair­dress­ing sa­lon in Ha­vana high­lights the dif­fer­ence be­tween life in Cuba and life in New Zealand.

Hit­ting the streets: Liz Cado­gan said it was typ­i­cal to see chil­dren play­ing in the streets of Ha­vana.

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