Evan McQuaid Bedford
Evan McQuaid Bedford is a Los Angeles based photographer who predominantly explores the interactions of portraits and still lifes with color and space. His work often employs minimalism both within the subject and the environment. Simplicity pairs with complexity as there is regularly an additional layer of intrigue embedded in the subject that leads the viewer to question the narrative.
Bedford first traveled to Cuba in 2007 and quickly found himself pulled in many directions by the complexities and contrasts of a country fighting for its survival. At times frustrating to witness a population in such hardship, he was always brought back to the realization that its people would forever endure because of their determined spirit and perseverance. An intrinsically complicated country, it took Bedford weeks to even process and garner a solid first impression. He made a promise to himself to return one day to elaborate on his impressions through the medium of photography.
This body of work marks his return to Cuba in 2015. The country was on the verge of immense change and Bedford found himself right in the optimal spot between old and new. Over the course of two trips and six weeks he was able to capture his own interpretations of a country and its people on the brink of a historical transition. Embedding himself in the Centro Habana area outside of the main tourist spots, Bedford established relationships with mostly working class locals and explored their community identity within the greater context of the country as a whole.
The photographs made in these trips display a rare look at Cuba at a time just before it took great steps to open up. Bedford was there as The United States and Cuba officially restored full diplomatic relations and opened up the American Embassy for the first time since 1961. He was also there as Cuba introduced 35 public WIFI hotspots across the country where for the first time many Cubans could go online. And the first commercial flights from The United States began service not long after Bedford's last trip to Cuba.
This exhibition offers an intimate view into Cuba at a critical moment in time not just for the subjects but also the viewers. It provides a window into a society and asks us to question what our relationship will be from here on out. This dialogue is just one step in the course of a rapidly changing Cuba. With change comes both gains and losses and these photos aim to preserve some aspect of what may be lost to time and development.