Cuba Then (Monacelli Press) features some 260 images from the Ramiro A. Fernández Collection of more than 4000 photographs of Cuba dating back to the late 1800s. It is a sequel to I Was Cuba(Chronicle Books), which in 2007 offered a first selection of similar images from Fernández’s in-depth and often intriguing holdings. A New York-based former photo editor for various Time, Inc. magazines (Entertainment Weekly, People, People en Español) and current contributing photo editor of Americas Quarterly, Fernández emigrated from his native Cuba to Florida with his mother, sister and 22 pieces of luggage when he was eight years old. That was in 1960, shortly after the triumph of Fidel Castro’s dictatorship-crushing political revolution.
1. Annemarie Heinrich, The Lecuona Cuban Boys on tour in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1940-1941), silver print, 8 x 10 inches. This was a popular Cuban orchestra, which toured the world extensively during the 1930s and 1940s. It was founded and promoted by the Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona (all photographs courtesy The Monacelli Press unless stated otherwise)
2. Photographer unknown, an unidentified Cuban youth takes part in a voluntary security detail outside the Habana Hilton as curious onlookers edge in for a glimpse of Fidel Castro, who had moved into the hotel for a while (January 1959), silver print, 5 x 7 inches.
3. Photographer unknown – World Wide Photos, unidentified performer in a Cuban-operated circus carrying an anaconda (non-indigenous) snake in Camagüey, Cuba (circa 1942), silver print, 8 x 10 inches.
4. Photographer unknown, the actor Alec Guinness in the Old Havana section of the Cuban capital, seen here in a publicity still from the movie, “Our Man in Havana.” The movie was an of the British author Graham Greene’s 1958 novel. This Columbia Pictures motion picture was the last Hollywood-scale production carried out in Havana before relations between the United States and Cuba were severed (1959), silver print, 8 x 10 inches (courtesy of Columbia Pictures)
5. Photographer unknown, Passengers on a municipal bus (known as a “guagua” in Cuban Spanish), Havana (1954), silver print, 8 x 10 inches
6. Panama Pacific Line, Morro Castle, situated at the entrance to Havana Harbor, viewed from the port side under misty conditions (circa 1925), silver print, 8 x 10 inches
7. Photographer unknown, a rain-soaked crowd during a storm on Havana’s gulf-side avenue and promenade, the Malecón, with a view toward the east (circa 1935), silver print, 8 x 10 inches
Cuba Then (2014) is published by The Monacelli Press.