A local photographer recently captured the life and times of the people living only 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
Walter Pofeldt, of Waerbury-LaSalle, will debut a selection of 20 prints from his 12-day trip to Cuba in October 2015 at an exhibit called ‘The Faces of Cuba,’ opening at the Poe Park Visitor Center on Saturday, July 2.
The exhibition opening is from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the photos will be viewable between 8 a.m and 4 p.m. until Sunday, July 31.
Pofeldt said his images depict his impression of the Cuban people as individuals, and presents them in a non-political way.
“I hope people take away from these photos a good impression of the Cuban people themselves,” said Pofeldt. “I don’t want to be political at all; I just feel like they are a group of people who are just like any other people trying to get along in life.”
The photographer, who has spent 15 years working at the Bronx Times Reporter both as a staff member and a freelancer, said that he encountered a people who are preservering under some difficult conditions.
“Regardless of the hardships that they endure, they are a warm, friendly and proud people,” he stated, added that Cuba is a country that is suspended in time, and that music and art appear to be everywhere in the island nation.
During his time in Cuba, he photographed Havana, Cienfuegos, the city of Trinidad, as well as a fishing village that many believe was Ernest Hemingway’s inspiration for his short masterpiece ‘The Old Man and the Sea.’
The group he was with also toured Hemingway’s Cuban home, a coffee plantation, a senior center, a childcare center and visited a modern dance company that has performed in New York called Malpaso Dance, he said.
There is very little crime or graffiti vandalism in Cuba, added Pofeldt, who said that a tour guide suggested it was because of the country’s educational system.
While there are no overt signs of extreme poverty, people live a hand-to-mouth existence in crumbling Spanish-styled buildings, said Pofeldt.
The photos in the exhibit, as well as the others the photographer took reflect all of this.
“I did not go to Cuba specifically to take pictures, but of course, I had my camera,” he said. “A lot of the pictures are portraits where I saw an interesting face and asked to photograph them.”
In the majority of cases, the Cuban people he met were obliging subjects, said Pofeldt.
Poe Park Visitor Center is located at 2640 Grand Concourse in Bedford Park.
For more information, call (718) 365-5516.
The exhibit curator, Lucy Aponte, can be reached at lucy.apont