It is difficult to summarize briefly a project like Cuban Portraits which took more than six years to complete.
In 2004, I met thirty of the most renowned Cuban painters in Havana. More than an artistic endeavor, Cuban Portraits is a human experience that lies behind each work.
When I first landed in Cuba, I had no idea of the journey I was about to embark on. All I knew was I needed a break from commercial photography and explore a new world and its people. The energy I immediately sensed in the city of Havana inspired me to discover and ultimately develop a relationship with original and unique artists that would eventually morph into a collaboration transcending my portraits into multiple “dreams”.
The original idea was for me to photograph these artists in their homes or studios and print the result, but once back in Paris I realized that something was missing in the portrait. The intensity of the country and the personality of each artist struggled to come through. I wanted to share a human experience which would go beyond that of a simple photographic session. Then one day, an idea struck me. What if I transferred the print onto a canvas and asked them to paint over their portrait. I wanted for our artistic DNAs and creative expression to become one. These large format paintings (200x150cm each) are the results of our collaboration.