Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Book: CUBA THEN Rare and Classic Images of Cuba's Glamorous Past

Ramiro A. Fernández Collection

A tribute to Cuba’s glamorous past
through hundreds of vintage photographs and ephemera

Cuba before Castro was defined by boundless tourism and vibrant nightlife. From the streets of Havana to the back roads of rural towns, Cuban life was a heady mix of music, dancing, sports, gambling, politics, and struggle.

Cuba Then celebrates the intensely colorful culture that photography collector Ramiro A. Fernández remembers from his youth. From the earliest daguerreotypes to glamorous shots of movie stars, a century of the country’s history is represented by a rich spectrum of personalities: race-car driving aristocrats, sultry showgirls, gangsters, everyday folk, and revolutionaries who would soon transform the nation, including Fidel Castro and Che Guevera. An introduction by Fernández shares his early memories of Cuba and details how his love of collecting vintage Cuban photographs began. Through a foreword and poems, Richard Blanco, the Cuban-American poet chosen to speak at President Obama’s second inauguration, meditates on the romantic legacy of old Cuba.

A dynamic collage of images, experiences, and memories, Cuba Then presents the glamour and the grit of the island’s tumultuous history, through a collection that passionately preserves traces of a lost homeland.

About the Authors: 
Born in Havana, Ramiro A. Fernández is the author of I Was Cuba, a former photography editor at Time, Inc., and the owner of more than 3,000 vintage Cuban photographs. Richard Blanco is the award-winning author of four collections of poetry, including Looking for The Gulf Motel.
Ramiro A. Fernández
Richard Blanco

Friday April 25, 2014 Book signing with Ramiro at the International Center of Photography 
For More Info Visit IPC

Tuesday May 6, 2014 Book Signing and Presentation with Ramiro Fernandez and Richard Blanco at Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL 
For More Info Visit Books & Books

Ramiro A. Fernández, Foreword and poems by Richard Blanco 
288 pages • 7-1/4 x 9-3/8 inches • 285 color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-58093-383-4 • $40.00 hardcover •
The Monacelli Press • 236 West 27th Street, 4th Floor • New York, New York 10001 

New York Times
Looking Back at Cuba and the Lower East Side
The Cut 
Take a Trip to Cuba With These Glamorous Vintage Photos
Womens Wear Daily

Cuba on My Mind: Book Spotlights Ramiro A. Fernández Collection


'Cuba Then: Rare and Classic Images from the Ramiro A. Fernández Collection'

Havana 1925
Tracy and Hemingway on set The Old Man and the Sea
César Romero and Mexican actress Elena de La Cruz in Havana
Related Story:
New book offers glimpse into the Cuba of yesteryear through vintage and rare photos


Ramiro A. Fernández, a retired Time photo editor, began collecting photographs of his homeland quite by accident, but that serendipity has proven to be a bonanza for anyone interested in vintage images of Cuba and its colorful culture.
In 1981, Fernández was working as a receptionist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York when a man offered to sell a collection to the museum’s curator. The curator wasn’t interested, but Fernández ended up buying — on an installment plan — another album, one of 20 albumen silver prints from the 1890s by Spanish-born Cuban photographer Jose Gomez de la Carrera. It was the beginning of a lifelong love affair. Since then Fernandez has amassed 4,000 photo images that span about 150 years.
Now Fernández, 62, has put about 270 of those photos together in a book that offers a fascinating glimpse into the Cuba of yesteryear, a visual chronicle of glamorous showgirls, local celebrities, international movie stars and everyday people. Cuba Then: Rare and Classic Images from the Ramiro A. Fernandez Collection (The Monacelli Press) offers a peek into one of the largest collections of Cuban photography outside the island.
Fernández and award-winning poet Richard Blanco, who wrote a foreword and provided poems for the book, will talk about Cuba Then at Books & Books in Coral Gables at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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