Copyright 2017 - Vincenzo Metodo
Varadero is the cradle of one of the most important economic sectors in Cuba: tourism. It's the largest seaside resort in the Caribbean and has a huge assortment of hotels, shops, banks, water activities, and entertainments of all kinds. But its most precious treasure is the beach: an uninterrupted strip of 20km of white sand that every year attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world. I came to this place by accident while traveling for Cuba with other intentions. But that beach caught my attention right away. So I began to walk those 20km every day for weeks, trying to figure out how life was going on that streak of paradise. But what I found, more than a paradise, was a Limbo under construction, where capitalism and communism, tourists and residents, the rich and the poor people, coexist and often blend together, creating a split of carefree and contradictory humanity. An aseptic place that gives relief to all the characters in this collective drama that we call modern society.
Three months before the death of Fidel, I traveled to Cuba with improvised means, stopping in places described by the Cuban writer Pedro Juan Gutierrez. In his books he frequently uses the expression "animal tropical" when he talks of himself and his compatriots. With these two simple words he refers to the indomitable sensuality that lies under the skin of the Cuban people, and that shines through in every aspect of daily life. My idea was not to document the political situation of the island, which is for months now in the spotlight. I wanted to focus on something that would go over. So I traveled in Cuba with little money and without any assignment, looking, starting from the street, all the knowledge that could make me access in the heart of this sensuality.
For three years I have taken the same tram (n.3) every day photographing with an Iphone the human river that flowed on my skin. In this stream there is no definition, or social categories. Everything slips away. Everything is forgotten and becomes rarefied enough to just leave the impression, the face, that takes care to show the essential. That's all we need to know. People, such as water, may take the shape of the container. For this reason, sometimes in certain places their change can not be controlled, nor documented. With my iphone I just wanted to close the gap between me and the others. This work does not pretend to tell a story. It's only a trace of everyday life and of the people, that we forget every day. A kind of personal diary that reminds me how many times I have been in the eye of another without realizing it.
The need to understand the underlying mechanisms of the referendum, has led me in the British capital, in those places so well known and rooted in the collective imagination, in direct contact with people. Each of them shared with me fears, doubts, opinions. Each with its own way of thinking or caring. To get angry or laugh about. London is a city full of cultural and political symbolism, with very strong and codified visual identity, and the same goes for its citizens. Documenting the street in that so sensitive period led me to a continuous confrontation with stereotypes and paradigms that, for better or for worse, characterize places and the identity of the citizens or those who are just passing through. But with the progress of the shots the city disappears until it becomes just the container of the raw material: a generous, vast and eloquent human kaleidoscope. Each subject breaks irreverently these popular stereotypes with a glance, a gesture, or a simple expression, reminding me of the great mystery of the tremendous power that is hidden in the folds of everyday life. That life that is lived always independently of the games of power.
Portraits, casual life scenes, and stuff without any apparent meaning or coherence
Tunis, Treize ans apres
A few weeks after I graduated, I get evicted from my house. I find hospitality, in the apartment of three very dear friends and colleagues. For an unexplained set of circumstances, during my month's stay we never left the apartment. After all this time it is difficult to explain why we were locked in the house all the time. Each of us had finished their studies, each of us would face shortly thereafter a professional learning process in their respective areas of expertise: Gino Palummo in directing, Nunzio De Luca in acting, Giuseppe Chessa in the direction of photography and I in photojournalism. That month saw us slipping unconsciously into a sort of limbo of music, film, poetry, photography, drugs, alcohol. A sort of rite of passage to adulthood, to the work we wanted to do. The attempt to put into words the emotions of those days only leaves the memory of a quiet melancholy, of a creative leisure and a search of himself that today is still far from over. For each of us. In addition to my reportage, it was produced a narrative short film called "The Circle" directed by Gino Palummo.