Time and Neglect

about Michael Eastman

In the twelve years since Michael Eastman first traveled to Cuba, he has found little that has changed. There seems to be some attempt to rehabilitate some of the older buildings, but resources are still so scarce that not much progress has been made. On the bright side, the people are still as wonderful as they were when he first arrived in December of 1999.

Michael has established himself as one of the world’s leading contemporary photographic artists. Self-taught, he has spent five decades documenting interiors and facades in cities as diverse as Havana, Paris, Rome, and New Orleans, producing large-scale photographs unified by their visual precision, monumentality, and painterly use of color.

In his fine art work, Michael is more interested in finding places to photograph that are full of evidence of human activity but without the specific people that inhabit the places. These photographs are portraits of the people without the people in it. According to Leah Ollman of the Los Angeles Times, Walker Evans’ legacy is evident throughout his work: a love of the vernacular, a consistent, frontal approach, and a fondness for… time and neglect.

“When I first began to photograph, there seemed to be many voices in my head. Imaginary critics telling me what to do, What not to do. Voices of parents wondering what I was doing with my life and why was I wasting my time with a camera, etcetera. Over the years, the only voice in my head is mine. The only one I am trying to please is me. I think this is what people mean when they say finding one’s voice”.


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