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Old Havana / La Habana Vieja, Old Havana / La Habana Vieja, 0817317627, 0-8173-1762-7, 978-0-8173-1762-1, 9780817317621,

Old Havana / La Habana Vieja
Spirit of the Living City / El espíritu de la ciudad viva
by Chip Cooper, Néstor Martí

Hardcover
2012. 228 pp.
216 illus.
978-0-8173-1762-1
Price:  $49.95 t


Old Havana: Spirit of the Living City artistically captures the architecture, people, and daily life of La Habana Vieja (Old Havana) through the lenses of two visionary photographers and colleagues, one American and the other Cuban.
 
Chip Cooper and Néstor Martí began collaborating in 2008, documenting the picturesque features of the oldest and most historically rich quarter in Cuba’s capital city at the behest of Eusebio Leal Spengler, the historian of the city of Havana and the director of the Habana Vieja restoration project. Cooper’s and Martí’s images highlight the spirit of change and renewal underlying the restoration of this international treasure and its revival as a vibrant business and residential area.

Inspired by the work of twentieth century American photographer Walker Evans, Cooper and Martí, through perspectives both unique and deeply entwined, capture the humanity of the city, in a language at once universal and transcendent.

Néstor Martí has a degree in art history. He also studied documentary, advertising, and fashion photography. As photographer of the Havana Historian’s Office for more than ten years, he has developed an extensive portfolio that includes documentary and press photography as well as patrimonial photography, urban landscapes, and portraiture. He has published his work in a wide range of books, magazines, and websites.
 
Chip Cooper was director of photography for The University of Alabama for thirty-three years and is now artist-in-residence in the Honors College and a faculty member in Arts and Sciences.  While working for the university, he has published the following books: Hunting: The Southern Tradition, Alabama Memories, Silent in the Land, Common Threads, Crimson: The University of Alabama, and recently Tin Man. He has shown his work nationally and internationally, and his photographs are in many museums, as well as private and corporate collections.
 

“Chip Cooper and Nestor Marti's Havana: Spirit of the Living City / La Habana: El espíritu de la ciudad vivaa is a gift to all of us. Their images are filled with the life, vitality and passion that is Havana. They tell a story of this magnificent place in the alleys and the plazas, on the facades and in the faces of the living. Cooper and Marti have captured the soul of this truly beautiful place.”--Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country



“The photographs are full of love for the Cubans and give us the dignity that really fills us with pride.”—Julio Larramendi, photographer and author from Havana, Cuba

“Even if you've been to the old city of Havana, you haven't really seen it fully, or understood it fully, until you've seen this timeless and timely portrait of one of the most fascinating and romantic places in the world. Cooper and Martí, united in and inspired by their admiration for the great American photographer Walker Evans, are wonderfully complementary masters of their art. Their photographs--vibrant, respectful, witty, and sometimes truly epic in their vision, along with the accompanying texts--create a kind of imagistic dialogue. The result is a moving panorama of past and present, generality and specificity, the stillness of stone and the drama of the sea, the vividness of the human presence and present in a place saturated by the past."--Daniel Menaker, author of Friends and Relations: A Collection of Stories, The Old Left: Stories, and The Treatment, and coauthor of The Worst

“Chip Cooper and Néstor Martí  have captured the essence of old Havana: its people, its harbor, its streets and alleyways, its balconies and balustrades. Lives passing by windows and through arched doorways.  An older world fixed in time, yet hauntingly familiar somehow...the spirit perhaps of a longed-for déjà vu, an adventure to be had.”--Jim Harrison III, Chairman Alabama State Council on the Arts

“It's fascinating to see the same city through two sets of highly observant eyes.  Chip Cooper is swept away, enthralled by the sky, the sea, the color, and the heat of life in one of the Western Hemisphere's most fascinating cities. Néstor Martí's vision is closer to the earth; he seeks out the surfaces of decay and the irony of poverty amidst tropical richness.  Joined together, their visions are complementary and moving—a testament to two ways of seeing, echoing, and informing the contrasts between Cuba and the United States.”—Mark Childress, author of Georgia Bottoms and Crazy in Alabama

“Chip Cooper has spent the last three decades defining a sense of place that few, if any, modern photographers have been able to capture. The images throughout his books have not only been poignantly beautiful, they have also raised awareness of our architectural past and the need to preserve it. With his latest book, Old Havana, it seems clear to me that Chip is working at the kind of world-class level we may not have seen since the days of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange. He is THAT good.”—Mark Mayfield, former editor-in-chief of House Beautiful magazine

These photos are just fantastic.  Gorgeous. --Daniel Nasaw, BBC America

 

"Describing a book of photographs in words is a tricky and probably thankless task. So let me begin simply. This is an absolutely beautiful book. You could take any page in the book, have it framed and hang it proudly on your wall. Chip Cooper, University of Alabama photographer is arguably the premier photographer in the state of Alabama."
--Don Noble Bookmark Alabama Public Radio & Alabama Public Television




"Even if you've been to the old city of Havana, you haven't really seen it fully, or understood it fully, until you've seen this timeless and timely portrait of one of the most fascinating and romantic places in the world. Cooper and Martí—united in and inspired by their admiration for the great American photographer Walker Evans—are wonderfully complementary masters of their art. Their photographs--vibrant, respectful, witty, and sometimes truly epic in their vision--along with the accompanying texts create a kind of imagistic dialogue. The result is a moving panorama of past and present, generality and specificity, the stillness of stone, the drama of the sea, the vividness of the human presence and present in a place saturated by the past. It's a really spectacularly beautiful and sophisticated book.”—Daniel Menaker, author of A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation, The Treatment, The Old Left: Stories, and Friends and Relations: A Collection of Stories

“Like so many Americans my age, Havana was that exotic, otherworldly paradise where our parents’ generation dreamed of lulling away the hours in the sun in those heady years of the American Century after World War II. That is, until revolution transformed this dream into ours nation's collective nightmare. My childhood is filled with memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis, neighbors’ bomb shelters, and air-raid drills. Yet, in it all, Havana as it truly was, was lost in both our dreams and in our nightmares. We seemed somehow to never get it right. Chip Cooper and Néstor Martí’s Old Havana: Spirit of the Living City / La Habana Vieja: El espíritu de la ciudad viva is a gift to all of us. Their images are filled with the life, vitality, and passion that is Havana. They tell a story of this magnificent place in the alleys and the plazas, on the facades and in the faces of the living. Maybe Walker Evans did get it right when he made his way, camera on tripod, through these same streets and alleys by day, meeting up with Hemingway by night, but few have followed. That is until now. Cooper and Marti have captured the soul of this place, this truly beautiful place.”
--Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country

 


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