CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College/Professor Bernstein
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Category — MMelore

My Mom, Her Fiancé, And How She Met Her Husband


I am going to tell you all a story about my mom, Anna Maria Isabella Theresa Gallo. Even though her life is full of meaningful, sometimes, historical events, like my birth, I chose the following story because it sums up what kind of person my mom really is. But, the only way I can tell you this particular story is if I first give you all a summary of who my Mom’s family are and what they are like.

My mom’s father, my grandpa, first came to America during World War II. He was part of the Italian Merchant Marines, when one day the ship he was on docked in NY harbor. After leaving the ship to explore New York he realized he never wanted to go back to Italy again. He never stepped back on that ship and soon found himself an illegal immigrant living in a strange new world. Eventually he found a Sicilian wife and they settled down in the Bronx. They had two children, the older one, Anna, my mom, while the younger one, Ralph, was my Uncle. Eventually they moved to Oakland Gardens, Queens. My mom and uncle always like to tell stories about how old fashioned my grandpa was. I do not know how true they are, all I know is that even if half of the stories are true I would never trade my parents for him. My grandpa had narrow views on marriage. According to them many of the backwards things he believed was that women should not go to college and that they were actually inferior to men.

By the time my mom was a senior at Cardozo High School it started to look like she would be the first person to graduate in her family. My grandpa wanted my uncle to continue his education after high school, but that dream was crushed when my uncle was expelled from school during his sophomore year. Every time I ask about how my uncle got expelled I get a different answer. These answers range from selling drugs to being involved in a race riot.

By the time my mom graduated high school in 1973, it looked as though her future was set in stone. She was attending Queens Community College and was only nineteen years old when a young man named Joseph Deluvio asked her to marry him. This man is not my father and my mom never married him. This man, my mom’s first fiancé was in line to own a pizzeria that his father owned, and according to my mom, his family was already well off. She even hinted to me that some of the money did not come from the pizza. My mom does not remember much from those lost years, but what she does remember is what happened afterwards.

During her junior year of college she dropped out so that she could plan her wedding. But, by the summer of that year my mom realized she did not want to marry this man. After her fiancé caught my mom in a “lie” she decided that she could not marry a man that checked up on her and worried about “things that were so petty.” She broke off the plans for the wedding and for the next six months spent her time in Europe in order to find herself. She told me that she learned two things during her time in Europe, “life is for the living,” and “Americans have better bathrooms, but Europeans have better chocolate.”

When she came back to America she moved out of her parents house and bought an apartment in Astoria. Back then Astoria was a cheap neighborhood, but it was not cheap enough for my mom to afford. Her ex-fiancé, in an act of goodwill helped my mother make her first steps on her own. She started to work for Morgan Stanley as an Administrative Assistant in order to make ends meet, and in the next year or two was back at school. She reenrolled at Hunter and worked nights to pay for the tuition.  My mom told me why she did not ask her father for the tuition, “I was on my own,” she said, “And it’s not like he cared about my education… He even had the nerve to ask me once why I was even going to college.” One year after reenrolling my mom became the first person in her family to graduate from college.

With no guidance counselor, precedence, or encouragement, my mom decided that a Bachelors degree was not good enough for what she wanted to be, it was then that she decided to get her Masters degree in Social Work at NYU. Even back then the price of admission to NYU would give people heart attacks. What was my mom thinking when she decided to take out large student loans and work long nights for a social work degree, a degree, considered by many to have no monetary value? The answer is that my mom wanted to be a psychotherapist and she was not going to let money get in her way. Even though a PhD. in Psychology was also an option, my mom decided that it was better for her to become a psychotherapist, and getting a Masters in social work would be the most economical and fastest way to start her career. Even though Psychologists get paid more my mom just wanted to treat and help people.

It was during her time in graduate school that she met my dad, who was a younger graduate student studying social work at Columbia. But, that is the beginning of another part of my mom’s life, something that would not fit into this essay and will have to be told on another day.

December 7, 2010   4 Comments


Before going to the Museum of Modern Art on Thursday, the last time I went to an art museum was with my parents, when I was just eight years old. I remember my Dad commenting on how me and my twin sister were so anxious about getting it over with that we would run through all the exhibits without really looking at anything in order to get the trip over with as soon as possible. I do not know where my parents got the bright idea to bring two eight year olds to an art museum, but the events that unfolded that day might have something to do with the fact that my Mom has never asked or shown interest in going to a Museum ever again. My Dad, on the other hand, has always wanted me to experience culture and when he found out that I was going to MOMA with my class he could not have been more ecstatic. I, on the other hand, was cautious before seeing the exhibits at the MOMA, since I was told that some of the art was mind-boggling.

The day of the trip I arrived at the museum around forty-five minutes early, allowing me to walk around the gift shop and lobby area. The only way I can give a review of MOMA is if I include my first impressions, even if the stuff in the gift shop were not what some people would consider art, they interested me enough so that I remember them almost as well as the paintings. After entering the museum’s doors I immediately thought that any museum with big flat couches and plants in elaborate glass containers jutting out of the wall should be an interesting experience. I was also intrigued the witty assortment of interesting paraphernalia I saw in the gift shop. This included wind up feet, a metal Rubik’s cube which changed shapes, and cups with the Piet Mondrian pattern on it. After being impressed with my initial surroundings I could not be any more excited to see the rest of the museum

The first exhibit we saw was a piece by a man who hated museums and hated mainstream art. The exhibit consisted of all the food he ate for an entire year. It was interesting, but if I did not really know if it was actually art, and it did to interest me enough to even debate the matter. My problem was that if someone is going to take something that most people do not consider art and then call it art, in my opinion it has to be at least interesting enough to spark some sort of debate. All this exhibit did was make me feel sorry for a guy who seemed to live off of lemonade and asthma medication for a year.

The next exhibit was a showcase of how modernism has evolved over the years from abstract images of real things to the complete and total simplicity. I really did enjoy learning and seeing for myself how modernism evolved. I was impressed by how the curators set the show rooms up, allowing us to, not only see individual artists works in one room, but also the evolution of modernism, and the different forms modernism took. From the perfectly smooth paintings with only a line going through it, to multi-textured works with layers of seemingly random and chaotic brush strokes, it was all quite a spectacle. I could only guess as to what each individual artist was trying to prove, but it was still very pretty and always fascinating.

I was most intrigued by the last exhibit we saw, the one that that examined lines. Even though the theme and ideas that were displayed went way over my head, it was still interesting to see the way artists used lines in different ways. Some of my favorite pieces from that exhibit were the box made out of barbed wire, as well as the quirky way the curators made a line around the exhibit using every day items like duck tape, combs and rulers. The pieces on display varied from grandiose displays covering entire walls to small little photographs one could easily miss. It was fun looking at all the art and finding new and interesting pieces every time we entered a room. I thought that the idea of having small and medium sized rooms with only fragments of the exhibit in each one was a brilliantly idea. The way the exhibits are laid out really makes you want to see what is in the next room and stops you from trying to see everything at once by just walking down a long corridor like in other museums.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with what was presented at the MOMA. Even though almost all the art was too abstract for me to comprehend the curators made it so that even people who know nothing about modern art can enjoy the pretty paintings and sculptures, as well as some of the more quirky and interesting stuff they have. Even though most people associate MOMA with abstract art that can only be understood by New York intellectuals, I still felt that the museum welcomed someone like me, who did not know what to expect or how to appreciate it.  Whether it’s two fans blowing a round metal wire back and forth, classic works of modern art, or cool toys at the gift shop, MOMA seems to have something for everyone.

December 7, 2010   No Comments

Sarah Krulwich

Sarah Krulwich’s career is a great example of how, even through adversity, one can achieve something remarkably significant and completely unexpected. After picking up a book on how to develop photographs, Sarah Krulwich became the first female photographer on her college newspaper. She was not particularly interested in photography, but she had a camera, and they needed a photographer.

By her second year on the newspaper she gained enough seniority to have calim an exclusive pass that let her photograph on the actual sidelines of the football field. The problem was that it was also against school policy to allow women on the football field. After a tense encounter with the men on the field she skyrocketed to fame for refusing to back down.

From then on her life has revolved around photojournalism and a handful of moments where she was the first female photographer to do something. She started off taking photographs of sporting events and eventually gained enough recognition to take photos of the New York Times. Even though she says she did not know anything about the sports themselves she was able to learn on the job by timing her shots split seconds before things happened, firing off as many shots as she could. In this way she was able to get the shots she needed and solidify her place in the world of photojournalism. She also explains how she was able to get quirky, or interesting photographs because of the fact that she did not know how the sports were played and therefore was positioned to take certain photographs that other sport photographers missed. This made her photographs stand out from the rest of the crowd. She explained how most people around her treated her poorly because she was a woman taking photographs of sporting events, but this did not deter her from advancing her career.

She eventually went from the first woman photographer in her college newspaper to one of the first photographers ever to gain inside access on a consistent basis to New York’s theater, opera, and dance. Her experience as a sports photographer allowed her to get the shots that no one else could. She would take pictures of active and energetic moments during performances; instead of the happy still shots that were usually sent out to newspapers before a production opened.

Sometimes the smallest things, like a little book on photography, can change someone’s entire life.

December 6, 2010   No Comments

My Last Word

For as long as I can remember my Dad has been trying to get me to experience “culture.” Every time my birthday or Christmas roles around, the first question that pops out of his mouth is, “Do you want to see a Broadway play?” I always respond by trying to explain how movies are better and cheaper in every possible way, and once bought on DVD, Blu-ray, or digitally, can be watched as many times as one pleases. At least once a month he asks if I want to go into Manhattan and visit a museum. I tell him that there is nothing in Manhattan that interests me, especially since everything in Queens is just as good, if not better.

Ever since I had an opinion on the subject I have always tried to resist high culture, mostly because I have the feeling that it is being used as a shield or an alternative to resist advances in mainstream culture, and seems to clutch onto old ideas as if they are superior to new ones. The exclusivity of high culture events, like the opera, and Broadway plays seems to contradict the movement towards a more equal society, in which everyone can have access to the same entertainment. I also thought it was mostly really boring stuff. High culture usually rejects easy interpretations, often feeling distant and cold. For example the opera has both a language and a historical barrier; same with Shakespeare and ballet. Even more modern forms of high culture are too abstract and actively resist interpretation and the “mainstream.” This is even worse than the opera in some ways, one is just a language or historical barrier, while the other actively tries to shock and frighten normal people. These works do not serve the public; they serve a small elitist sub-culture that honestly feels their intellectual and abstract way of viewing things makes them better than the rest of us. It is as if they actively support class division, not by wealth, but by entertainment.

When I first got accepted into Macaulay I knew about the cultural passport and this class. I was hesitant, but willing to learn and see first hand high culture. I wanted it to justify its existence to me in a way that it never did before. This will probably be my last cultural encounter and to mark the occasion I am going to explain how being exposed to high culture over the last four months has impacted my feelings about it.

After seeing Fall For Dance, and the opera my overall perception of high culture did not stray too far from what it already was. It was not until we started studying photography that I started to see art through a new perspective. A lot of the photography we studied were taken for newspapers, or commissioned by the government during the great depression. This was a clear example of art being used for the public good, something that everyone could enjoy. The Scottsboro Boys, while not exactly affordable for the average New Yorker was approachable and could easily be enjoyed by anyone. It also taught an audience about an important event, without preaching to them. It had never fully formed in my mind that art could be used to teach people. Seeing the art at the MOMA was an experience. I enjoyed some of the modern simplicity of the art, but this art was created for the sake of art, something that I could not understand or appreciate.

In a way, this course has shaken my perceptions about high culture to some extent. I no longer feel that I am knowledgeable or wise enough to form a clear opinion on culture, whether it is mainstream or more refined. I am still wary about high culture as a way to divide the population into the elites and the masses, but I also feel that the line between the two is often blurred, something I learned while we were studying photography. I am still forming an opinion and I am always open to constructive debate.

December 5, 2010   No Comments

The Scottsboro Boys

The Broadway production of The Scottsboro Boys combines piercing social commentary with all the style and pizzazz of an old-fashioned musical. Instead of relying on a straightforward, and what was surely to be a heavy handed narrative of the real life Scottsboro boys, this musical interrupts its more serious subject matter with comedic elements and upbeat musical numbers. Scottsboro takes comedic relief to new heights, but at times it feels like its own unique style overwhelms the very substance of the story. The cast is almost entirely made up of African American men, some who play white and female roles. This is where the play takes the opportunity to turn the minstrel tradition on its head. The opportunity to see a play about thirteen black men unjustly convicted of raping two white women, while at the same time being treated to the visual shock of men dressed in drag and cotton candy musical numbers is a once in a lifetime experience, even if its parts do not satisfy as whole.

The plot of the musical follows nine African Americans who are unjustly accused of raping two white women. The story is a sad and true one and even though The Scottsboro Boys is full of comedic moments the dramatic roles are overwhelmed. Scottsboro Boys turns the minstrel tradition on its head in order to show how irrational things were back when racism and the Jim Crow plagued the southern United States. The prisoners are the only ones played without exaggeration. This makes these nine young men, who are the ones locked in prison, the only rational characters in the entire play. Aptly played by the entire ensemble, these dramatic roles shine through with importance and sincerity, allowing the audience to see how hopeless their situation actually was.

Even though the dramatic parts can stand on their own, it is really the musical numbers and minstrel tradition, which make the Scottsboro Boys, for whatever reasons, such an intriguing and controversial production. The musical numbers scattered throughout the play are a mix of cynicism and irony. The music, dance, and lighting evoke the joy and wonder found in old-fashioned musicals, but the subject matter would suggest the contrary. A particularly disturbing dream sequence has the youngest prisoner, only twelve years old, dancing around electric chairs and facing electrocution.  Sometimes these types of scenes can distract too much from the story, and on a couple of occasions they even turned me off from a moral standpoint.

That raises the question, which has been raised countless times about this play, whether or not The Scottsboro Boys is all in good taste, or if it indeed goes too far? I am hardly qualified to answer that question and would suggest that if you have not seen it that you should not form an opinion until you see it. But, Scottsboro Boys does tread a fine line between telling the audience what really happened to those nine souls and turning their story into comedic fodder, even if the comedy is geared towards the boy’s captors and not the boys themselves.

On a technical level The Scottsboro Boys is near perfect. The lighting, music, and sounds are all used to convey the mood of each scene in a way that clearly shows a lot of time had been put into getting the details perfect. The dancing and stage direction is also phenomenal, with a few memorable dance sequences. The use of stackable, metal chairs, as part of the set throughout the entire play is ingenious and sets a swift pace for a production, which has no intermission. The plain and boring costumes of the nine prisoners juxtapose well with the exaggerated costumes worn by the guards, sheriff, and other characters with comedic roles.

Overall it is hard to say whether or not The Scottsboro Boys is a great musical, but it is worth seeing and is definitely very good. There are a few problems and controversies, but that should not spoil what is otherwise a powerful, memorable and well-performed production.

November 30, 2010   No Comments

You Dirty Bastard?

It turns out that other colleges get a whole week off for Thanksgiving, which means that my sister is home again. But she didn’t come home alone, she brought along her new boyfriend who just happens to be from Massachusetts, and lives in a town just outside of Boston. What I have learned so far is that people in Massachusetts curse very differently from us. The F word isn’t as casual a phrase as it is in New York City, but Bastard turns out to be a word these New Englanders like to use a lot.

With an accent straight out of The Departed my sister’s boyfriend, Jimmy, nonchalantly calls people a dirty bastard like its normal or something. My sister had to explain to me that they do things differently up there. It’s a less explicit way of saying things compared to what we’re used to in NY, but that doesn’t mean these guys don’t curse. Jimmy is still able to holding his own with all of us New Yorkers, who might talk fast and act tough, but won’t get into a fight as readily as some of our more physical neighbors in the North.

I haven’t learned much about what actually goes down in the Mass. But I figure it’s just like the way we do things in NY, except not as grand. When it comes down to it all I really care about is that he is a Democrat from the North and that makes him alright with me, even if he does use the word bastard as a curse.

November 23, 2010   No Comments


Link To Collage: Magazine Collage Project

I chose to do my collage theme on magazines because I felt that it was something that represented a wide range of different demographics in our society. There are magazines for technophiles, reading groups and even pornography. Not only do magazines represent a wide range of cultural possibilities but most magazines, especially magazine covers tend to be very visual. I thought this visual aspect was something I could easily integrate into a collage, unlike newspapers or other forms of media.

What I felt was most important to my collage was representing the diverse and eclectic mix of magazines we have in this country. There are literally hundreds of magazines I could have chose from, but I decided that my collage would work best if I chose the most recognizable and widely read magazines. What I had to do next was show all of this in a collage.

At first I wanted to do a collage that was a just a still image of different magazine covers mixed up together, but after listening to what other people’s ideas were as well as some advice from our local Tech Fellow I decided to make a movie. I wanted the video to show the diversity of magazines.  One night, while I was watching television I saw an iPad commercial and realized the same concept might work just as well if I replaced the iPad’s apps with magazine covers.

I chose a variety of magazine covers, some more famous than others, that I thought would be a good sample population of the different kinds of magazines that are out there. After finishing the movie I felt like I had only scratched the surface of all different magazine combinations. So, I decided to expand my collage by taking a much larger sample of magazines by taking names of magazines in their original fonts and colors and putting them altogether on a white canvas. After this was completed I had two different collages.

I thought that having two collages might be confusing, so I added my still image collage of al the different magazine names and added it to my movie collage. I did this by adding the opening theme music from 2001: A Space Odyssey and some dramatic camera sweeping. In the end I felt that the combination of the iPad parody and the more traditional collage got my point across in a more thorough and entertaining way than if I only did one or the other.

Magazines have played such an important role in American culture. Television and newspapers usually overshadow them but magazines have impacted us in ways that no other form of media can. For example Time magazine has recorded down the most influential people of all time, while Mad changed the very ideas of humor and popular culture during its prime. The Economist and The New Yorker influence our opinions in ways newspapers cannot. The Rolling Stones set the standard for serious music critique since its foundation. The history of magazines is just as varied as the selection of magazines on store shelves today.

In the end all I really wanted to do was provide people with a view of how varied and diverse magazines can be. From Playboy to The NewYorker, no matter who you are, or where you come from you will probably find a magazine that is right for you

November 23, 2010   No Comments

Garbage In NYC


At any one moment there are thousands of bags of garbage, trashcans, and dumpsters strayed across New York City. Endless piles of black bags pile up along the sidewalk, green cans stand at every corner, and dumpsters stalk the city’s alleyways. Even though garbage is all around us people try to avoid it at all costs.  Whenever a tourist, a magazine, or a native describes NY they almost always leave out the huge role that garbage plays in the city’s look, smell, and sound. The glistening bags, the roar of the garbage trucks, and the garbage’s subtle smells are ignored or avoided by the majority of pedestrians. This is why I chose garbage as my theme; in order portray garbage in a new light, to show people the hidden beauty of the most reviled and most omnipresent substance in the city.

In order to kill two birds with one stone I decided that I would take most of my pictures of garbage while I walked from Baruch to Grand Central, so that I could take the seven train home. I would look down every street, and if I found an interesting trashcan or pile of garbage I would snap some pictures using different angles. I took some other pictures in the 17 Lex building at Baruch, Flushing, Grand Central Station, and my house. It turned out that only the pictures I took in the 17 Lex building would make the cut, along with the rest of the pictures I took on my walk.

I ended up taking over one hundred photos of garbage. What followed was a very selective process of elimination. I chose the photos, which I thought, had the most creative potential. After the selection process was over I had fourteen raw photos. I took these photos and edited them all extensively. Since my theme was more about garbage in general, and not a particular style I was able to change up the style of my photos. I knew from the start that I wanted a photo with a really high aspect ratio. I think that two of my photos succeed at this. The first thing I did with each photo was crop it, so that I could get the best image out of the picture I wanted. Then I would adjust the contrast, saturation, exposure, definition, etc. I would adjust the photo until I achieved the desired affect. This varied from photo to photo; sometimes I wanted the whole photo to be saturated with color, while for other photos I would leave no color at all.

After I edited each photo I looked all of them over and then decided which two I would delete, since I would only have twelve photos in the final theme. I chose the captions using the same method as someone who takes a Rorschach test, by using the first thing that came into my mind. What I tried to accomplish, as a whole, was to illustrate how garbage was everywhere, as well as to show that, sometimes, garbage can look kind of nice.

November 16, 2010   4 Comments

Bacteria Culture

Quorum sensing is the unbelievable process in which bacteria, who have no nervous system whatsoever, are able to communicate with each other. Bacteria are single celled organism, but don’t be fooled, they are as diverse, some would say more diverse, than all of the eukaryotes combined, (plants, animals, etc). For hundreds of years scientists thought that bacteria acted as individuals, separately from each other. In fact this is not the case at all, almost everything bacteria do is based on all the other bacteria around them. They are able to do this by releasing a certain chemical into the surrounding environment. Normally these chemicals would be dispersed into the environment and forgotten, but if there are a lot, I mean A LOT, of bacteria in the surrounding environment all these chemicals start to build up. When the amount of the chemical in the environment reaches a certain concentration proportional to the number of bacteria, the bacteria react to this and, all at once, carry out a certain task.

For example a bacterium might want to invade all the cells in your lungs in order to reproduce more efficiently and kill you, but it knows for a fact that it can’t do this on its own. This is because your immune system would be able to stop it before it even had a chance to munch on your delicious endosomes, or whatever it wants to invade and destroy. So instead of going on a suicide mission the bacterium decides to lay back, and stay cool for a little while, build up it’s numbers first. Eventually the bacterium will reproduce until maybe one day, if everything goes as planned, it reaches a population that would be impossible for your immune system to contain. Then, out of nowhere, they attack and kill you. If the bacterium had acted on its own your body would have killed it and then memorized what it looked like, so that if it ever came back it could be dealt with more efficiently. But now, because it was smart and waited for some back up, it can effectively invade your body with the help of its large family.

Obviously bacteria don’t only use quorum sensing for killing humans, they use it for hundreds, if not thousands of things. Each different kind of bacteria is like its own culture, with its own chemicals and proportions used for quorum sensing. Every single bacterium knows when it’s supposed to act and doesn’t question it. They have no leaders; they act as one, a single cohesive group.

Quorum sensing is great for us humans too. A massive amount of our body weight is bacteria, friendly organisms, and if we didn’t have them we wouldn’t be able to carry out some of our most basic processes. Not only that, but, anyone that has studied history knows that by understanding another nation’s culture one can more easily manipulate and eventually destroy that culture/nation. We can do the same thing to pathogenic bacteria, now that we know their secrets. We can create inhibitors (chemicals that look like the ones the bacteria use for quorum sensing), which prevent a bacterium from knowing how many other bacteria there are around them. It is the equivalent of putting a blindfold on everyone in Grand Central.

November 15, 2010   No Comments

Cuba In Revolution

While on a class trip to the International Center of Photography I walked down a staircase and found myself in a visual history lesson of the Cuban Revolution, with time charts, descriptions, and most importantly photographs. These photographs brought history to life for me in a way that only movies, non-documentary films to be matter-of-fact, had done before.

As I walked through the halls of the exhibit I found that films like The Godfather Part II and The Battle of Algiers kept coming to mind. The exhibit started off with pictures of pre-revolution Cuba, in which mostly white people went to clubs and partied in what seemed like a post WWII paradise. As the exhibit went along though, it was soon apparent that there were freedom fighters like Che and Castro who opposed the American backed capitalist puppet government. I watched as Cuba’s prerevolutionary government fell apart as a new communist government was formed.

Knowing some the basic history of the Cuban Revolution, as well as some the major players I tried to, at first, look at the photographs before looking at the written descriptions and the broader explanations that accompanied each set of photos. The museum curators did a good job of setting up the exhibit in a way that allowed visitors to learn something new about an important historical event, but also appreciate the art of photographs.

Obviously there were some striking photographs, like a man sitting on a pole in a crowd of people and Castro shaking the hand of Ernest Hemingway, but what impressed me the most was the juxtaposition of the photos from before, during, and after the revolution. The first photographs I saw were lighthearted and suggested that everything was fine in prerevolutionary Cuba, that it was a peaceful country, some sort of paradise where people could go on vacation and lay on the beaches. But pretty soon, moving on to the next photographs the only thing one saw was the poverty that accompanied peasants in Cuba at the time. The juxtaposition of these images gets to the heart of why the Cubans people resented their prerevolutionary government so much and also demonstrates how photographers choose to persuade or suggest ideas in the pictures that they take.

Later on the tone and content of the photographs shifts dramatically, there is actually a revolution going on in Cuba which culminates on new-years eve 1959 when the famous collapse of the capitalist Cuban government occurs and would change the face of Cuba for half a century and onwards. Instead of white people in dresses and slacks dancing the night away the photographs turned to longhaired, weather-beaten men in military uniform celebrating their victory over the capitalists.

The mood of the exhibit then shifts again to an odd group of photos that portray the rebel leaders Castro and Che in a warmer light while they are taking a vacation. But, alas Cuba is still not perfect as we see the gruesome images of Che’s death in Bolivia. This is an odd group of photographs that sharply contrast one another, yet failed to provide this reviewer with any real commentary.

After this the exhibit seems to tapper out, as the photographs of post revolutionary Cuba are just not as interesting or well placed as the prerevolutionary and revolutionary photos. Another criticism I had was that most of the post-revolutionary photographs were one-sided arguments. They seemed to favor the revolution and did not address the major social and economic issues that faced the new Cuban post revolutionary government. Obviously since it was hard for Westerners to get to Cuba, let alone go to take photos that criticize the country, it might be the case that photos of this nature are just possible to find.

Overall though, Cuba In Revlution is a fully enjoyable and educational experience. It is not only a history lesson, but also a lesson in the use of photography to influence, persuade, and pass judgment on historic events. The exhibit proves that the most persuasive arguments don’t have to be written in the columns or headlines of newspapers, they can also appear as images that choose what to show and what not to show carefully.

November 9, 2010   No Comments