Visual Arts

Music unites and brings together all Cubans, from Havana to Miami

Ricardo Oramas, second from left, with photographers Ivan Canas, Delio Regueral and Alberto Romeu.
Ricardo Oramas, second from left, with photographers Ivan Canas, Delio Regueral and Alberto Romeu. el Nuevo Herald

Reflecting on the theme “Havana, Miami and Music,” four Cuban photographers are exhibiting their work at Havana 305, a music club in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana.

Roberto Koltun, Ivan Canas, Alberto Romeu and Delio Regueral have documented the connection between music and these two cities through a total of 35 photographs that will be exhibited through Sept. 30.

Celia Cruz and Olga Guillot are depicted together and separately. Felix Chappottín, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Cachao, Bebo Valdes, Luis Carbonell, René Lorente and Albita Rodriguez are also featured in the exhibit.

In addition, pictures of special places in Miami and Havana take on special importance thanks to the unique lenses of these Cuban photographers.

“These are photographs taken both in Miami and in Cuba by different photographers. More than two months, we struggled to find the right people who could relate with a single photo,” said Ricardo Oramas, manager of Havana 305.

The 1992 photo Cruz and Guillot, embracing, is by award-winning Roberto Koltún, a photojournalist for the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. The photo hangs on the right side of the stage at Havana 305, as inspiration for today’s musicians.

“The photo of Celia and Olga is very particular. Indeed, they were rivals, and with two different personalities. Celia very open and loved people. And Olga was shy. Thanks to Norma Niurka, a reporter for the newspaper, that the two met in the old Miami Herald building,” Koltún said.

Koltún said it was not easy to bring both artists together, “but during the session their rivalry was never felt.”

Another photo on display: a montage of nine photos of Cuban musician and singer Luis Carbonell.

“These portraits I made in a theater in Havana in 2004 after a show. He gave me the images I wanted in such a spontaneous and natural way, I will never forget that day. There was no posing. I also have all the negatives stored as a treasure,” Koltún said.

Many call Chapottín the “Cuban Louis Armstrong.” Ivan Canas, one of Cuba and South Florida’s most honored photographers, has a journalism degree and has been a professional photographer since 1965. He presents four unpublished photographs of Chapottín, a trumpeter, singer and conductor.

These portraits are recognized in South Florida and Cuba. “Undoubtedly these photographs are among my treasures,” said Canas, who has participated in more than 100 exhibits in Cuba.

“The pictures I made show Chapottín in a park near his home. There are no negatives, because they belong to the archive of the magazine I worked for 22 years, from 1968-80 — and the magazine lost them. They are made ​​with silver gelatin,” said Canas, a freelance photojournalist for the Mexican agency Notimex.

Photographer Alberto Romeu shows nostalgic and modern images, a series of portraits that began in 1989 with images of writers, painters, actors, musicians, poets and theater directors.

“I want to emphasize and identify people, which is why I use mostly black backgrounds,” he said. “All the portraits are of excellent musicians outside of Cuba. These images are not for sale because they are part of a collection that is designed to be displayed.”

Delio Regueral’s passion for music and photography led him to create works that compare faces and sculptures to musical instruments.

“I really see faces in the instruments and make them pictures,” Regueral said.