Tomas is a member of VII.
He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including POYi Photographer
of the Year, the Bayeux Prize for War Correspondents and the Perpignan Young
During the American Ballet Theater’s recent visit to Cuba — the first to the communist island in 50 years — the dancers visited Havana's beaches and ballet schools and performed at the Karl Marx Theater. Despite this breakthrough in cultural diplomacy, political and economic relations between Cuba and the United States remain frozen.
Symbolic reforms introduced by Raul Castro since Fidel departed the spotlight have yet to make a tangible impact on the lives of ordinary Cubans. As there is never quite enough food and wealth to go around, nearly all of the islanders have learned how to hustle and cheat the system. While many of those who lived through the revolution still largely believe in its ideals, younger generations tend to view the state ideology with skepticism.
Why did you choose this subject?
I lived in the Caribbean for three years, and I became fascinated with Cuba. It also fits in with my broader interests in photographing inside closed places, and with my long-running investigation of 21st-Century Communism.
What do you see when you look at these photos?
Cuba is a land of contradictions. Authentic humanism and beauty intertwine with lies and terrible isolation. Like these photos, whenever I think of Cuba my feelings are intense but mixed.
What research and production did you go through to make these images?
I made many trips to the island over the course of eight years in order to make these images.
Do your images help the viewer understand the subject in a new way?
I've always found more questions than answers in Cuba.
What did you learn by making these images?
What I learned was more intuitive than rational, so it is hard to transmit it in words. I noticed beauty, poetry, longing, despair ...