Faded Elegance: Photographs of Havana by Michael Eastman consisted of twenty-nine, 6 x 7 1/2 ft. photographs taken by the artist between 1999 and 2010. Over the course of a decade, Eastman captured Havana’s changing cultural landscape in his images of the city’s architecture and lush interiors, ravaged by the effects of time. His large-scale photographs evoke the nostalgia and wealth of a bygone era, while shedding light on the harsh economic realities faced in present-day Cuba. While in Havana, Eastman photographed a number of subjects, from the interiors of homes along Embassy Row, to stairwells and music schools, to abstract patterns found on the exteriors of buildings. Eastman is known for his richly colored photographs, which he captures with his 4 x 5 camera. This exhibition was the first to explore the depth and range of Eastman’s Havana photographs.
About the Artist
Michael Eastman has established himself as one of the world’s leading contemporary photographic artists. The self-taught photographer has spent four decades documenting interiors and facades in cities as diverse as Havana, Paris, Rome, and New Orleans, producing large-scale photographs unified by their visual precision, monumentality, and painterly use of color. Eastman is most recognized for his explorations of architectural form and the textures of decay, which create mysterious narratives about time and place. He continues to resist the digital movement, capturing his images on film and printing them himself.
Eastman’s photographs have appeared in Time, Life, and American Photographer, and they reside in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and other prestigious institutions. His books include Vanishing America (2008, Rizzoli) and Horses (2003, Knopf), which is now in its fifth edition. Eastman lives in St. Louis.
Faded Elegance Flickr Project
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art invites you to explore the images and ideas presented by Michael Eastman in his photographs of Havana and respond by commenting or making and posting a photograph as part of our Flickr project.