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The Grand Gallery is open for ticketed events and by appointment through the ticket office. Appointments are scheduled in 30 minute increments inside the 10-3 pm Monday through Friday normal schedule. Requests outside of the normal schedule will be accommodated if staffing is available.  Click the request button above and include contact information and requested time. 

 

Also we have a monthly Arty Hour dates/times will be posted.

Being in Havana
Esta es La Habana

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY by JOHN SARSGARD

Life on the street in Havana includes more than getting from one place to another. People work, socialize, argue, dine, shop, flirt and make and listen to music. The street for many is an extension of the living room. I want to show you what los habaneros see as they go about life in their city. We have all seen the cliche images of lovingly restored old American cars, Spanish colonial buildings (often crumbling) and the bars Hemingway frequented. I want you to see the sights of ordinary life los habaneros see every day, including perhaps a few cliches, since they do see them. It is easy to get close to life being lived in the older sections of Havana. Many shops and some houses open directly onto a narrow sidewalk. Most people don't mind being photographed as long I'm close, friendly and respectful. Some people, when they see me linger with a camera, invite me to photograph them, while others don't notice or just don't pay me much attention.


Both black and white and color photographs are included. Havana is a colorful place, and I think the color work I am exhibiting needs to be in color. However, sometimes it can be a distraction from the moments I try to capture. I am showing the black and white work as platinum prints, an archival medium that reflects the timeless Havana I am seeking to portray. Platinum is a completely handmade process that adds to my connection with the moment. The prints are "things" to me as well as photographs.


These photographs were made before the covid pandemic. Havana today is a different and more difficult place to be. However, I believe the sense of place shown here is very similar to what life will be like again, with less disease and more food. Cubans are tough and resourceful. Some of them have become my good friends.
 


About the Artist
I photograph my connections. Many subjects have caught my attention over the years, and I've debated whether I was a portrait, or landscape, or architectural photographer ... but never a wedding, fashion or product photographer. Finally it dawned on me that I am drawn to photograph the people, places and situations to which I feel a connection. I am interested both in the chance encounters of what is usually called street photography and portraits made in collaboration with others.

 

I was born in the Deep South and grew up in a small town in Mississippi. I've been an expatriate for many decades but still consider myself a Southerner, although I hope others don't assume much from that about what I think about things. I did come of age in a strong culture with many visible features. I am fascinated with the uniqueness of individual humans and intrigued by the places and cultures they create and inhabit. I want to be in their neighborhoods, stores, cafes, parks, public buildings and when they invite me, their homes. Being in interesting places and meeting the people there interests me more than going to an upscale place to shop or eating at a famous restaurant... although great local food is a real treat!


Photographs can only suggest relationships among people, places and other aspects of culture, but they can trigger thoughts, questions and emotion. I hope my pictures serve as symbols that suggest, and that the viewer will imagine a little about who this person is, or what it is like to be in their place. Even if the life portrayed is the extraordinary ordinary.

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