Cuba 1959: The Second Front

PhotographerAlinka Echeverria
PrizeBronze in Book (series Only) / Documentary
Entry Description

Cuba 1959 : The Second Front is a work on the subject of collective memory and remembrance. On the fiftieth anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution (January 1st 1959), I began to photograph the men who fought on the Second Front in the highlands of Cuba as members of Castro's rebel army. Through portraits of these anonymous soldiers in their homes, sometimes in the company of their families, I attempt to visually extract fragments of their collective memory to unveil anonymous life stories which have been opaqued by political discourse and a battle between world powers. My biggest motivation in this work was to try to see these men as they see themselves, with the complexity of a violent past, a heroic epic era and the difficult present day situation. The process of being photographed wearing their military uniforms, displaying their medals and photographs of themselves during the revolution, provoked in many of my subjects an emotional journey into their past, and created a space for self-reflection of their identity as veterans of a war that changed their nation forever.

About Photographer

Alinka Echeverria (b.1981) is a Mexican/British photographer and visual anthropologist . She is a graduate of The International Center of Photography in New York and has an M.A in Social Anthropology and Development from The University of Edinburgh. She was recently named 2011 Winner of the HSBC Prix pour la Photographie given annually by the HSBC Cultural Foundation in France and was selected as a participant in the 2011 Joop Swart Masterclass of the World Press Photo Foundation. She has been awarded by CENTER, Magenta Foundation, American Photo, ASMP and has been a selected finalist for several grants including The Aftermath Foundation, Visas de l'Association Nationale des Iconographes, FotoVisura Grant and the Ian Parry Scholarship. Commissions and publications include: Le Monde Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The British Journal of Photography, The Sunday Times Magazine, NPR, Time Magazine�s Lightbox, Visura Magazine, Photo Magazine, Tomo, Cuartoscuro, Bite! Magazine, Fraction Magazine, American Photo, The Annenberg Foundation and Fundacion Casa Medina Sidonia. Alinka has been featured in various exhibitions worldwide, notably the 52nd Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art (2007), Pingyao Photo Festival in China (2008), Spazio Oberdan in Milan (2009), The New York Photo Festival (2010), Newspace Center for Photography in Portland (2010), Steven Kasher Gallery in New York (2010), the Flash Forward Festival in Toronto (2010), Galerie Réverbère, France (2011). Alinka�s working background in development and visual communication projects in East Africa, India, Mexico and Cuba deeply informs her practice as a photographer. Her work mainly focuses on the human connection to place, collective memory, ritual and identity.