Friday, September 14, 2007

“Obama is Right About Cuba” says Photographer Jack Kenny, “But Does Not Go Far Enough”

Jack Kenny's 'CUBA' is a unique photographic collection of Cuba and its people.

Ann Arbor, MI 48105
September 14 2007

Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s recent call for a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba is being endorsed by Jack Kenny, an American photographer who has made more than 40 trips to Cuba during the past decade and authored Cuba (120 hard cover pages, $65, Corazon Press, Ann Arbor, MI, ISBN 0-9768349-0-1), a unique photographic collection of Cuba and its people.

“We’ve been engaged in a failed policy with Cuba for the last 50 years,” said U.S. Senator Obama, R-Illinois., “and we need to change it.” Obama promised unrestricted rights regarding travel and money remittances to the island for Cuban-Americans. Whole-heartedly supporting that position is Michigan native Jack Kenny who says U.S. policies toward Cuba are antiquated and need to be overhauled to reflect today’s reality and the needs of the citizens of both countries. “While this is a small step,” says Kenny, “it at least opens the dialogue.”

“The victims of the trade embargo are the citizens of Cuba. The embargo does nothing but give Fidel Castro a scapegoat for Cuba’s failed economy. Thus the policy strengthens the very regime it hopes to topple,” says Kenny.

“Sadly, travel restrictions, which have grown even more severe under the current administration, rob Americans of the opportunity to get to know the Cuban people and their culturally rich country. The current restrictions hurt families split between the U.S. and Cuba, as Senator Obama stated. Absurdly, it’s legal for Americans to visit North Korea or Iran but they are banned from travel to Cuba.”

Kenny also says, “The ‘One Foot on Dry Land’ policy - which states that any Cuban who sets foot on U.S. soil has the right to stay here - exists solely for the purpose of propaganda. Put one Cuban on a raft and it makes headlines.” While Cubans are enticed into the treacherous waters of the Straits of Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard has recently increased patrols to intercept them. Kenny added that this policy is applied only to neighboring Cuba but not neighboring Mexico.

In his book, Cuba, Kenny takes readers on a photographic journey through modern day Cuba. Renowned Cuban photographer Robert Salas, who has published two books on Castro and exhibited his work throughout the world, wrote the forward to Kenny’s book.

“I do not believe in the ‘impartial objectivity’ of photography. In another sense, a place, subject or topic can be seen in many different ways. The most common way is from the outside in, resulting in the superficial point of view of an “outsider”. The other way is from the inside out, becoming a part of your topic or subject to try to arrive at the center of what you want to say. This is the work
of Jack Kenny.”

Roberto Salas is a member of the “Cuban Epic Photographers” of the sixties

“What is most special about Jack Kenny’s photographs is the way he has captured a striking characteristic of Cuba: its sense of intimacy. Getting to know Cuba is like being pulled into the warmth of a family. That shared intimacy -- between Cubans, between photographer and subject, between a Cuban and his or her emotional and physical landscape -- is what is touching
and unusual about the people there. There are few barriers between “them” and “us.” These photographs will make you want to be there, in Cuba, with these enticingly direct people.”

Sandra Levinson, Center for Cuban Studies/Cuban Art Space, New York City

“Jack Kenny’s photographs are a compassionate window onto the everyday beauty and longing of the Cuban people. Kenny takes us with him on his travels around the island of Cuba, capturing the grace that hides out in humble villages in the countryside and the street energy that literally explodes throughout the city of Havana. We learn how life is lived in Cuba today, with equal parts joy and uncertainty, and with the unending generosity that is the hallmark of the Cuban spirit.”

Ruth Behar, professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, is the editor of Bridges to Cuba and author of The Vulnerable Observer:Anthropology that breaks your heart.

Kenny, who has been photographing Cuba for more than eleven years during more than 40 trips, is owner of Quicksilver Photo, a photo lab and studio in Plymouth, MI. Kenny buys and sells art and photography from Cuba, and has a traveling photo exhibit: Cuba - Revolution Then & Now, which includes 35 16x20 sepia-toned photos of his own work, 20 archival images of the Cuban Revolution, and 15 new prints of the revolution. He is also exhibiting new work from his book. He is publisher of -- an image bank with over 4000 pictures on all aspects of Cuban life.

Born in Detroit, Kenny attended University of Michigan, and has lived for the past 30 years in Ann Arbor, MI. Since May of 2006 he has been married to Niurka Sanchez Cutiño, who currently lives in Havana. She and her son may come to the US later this year. He founded Corazon Press in 2005

CUBA is available through Corazón Press at

Scott Lorenz (
Westwind Communications
1310 Maple Street
Plymouth, MI 48170
Phone : 734-667-2090
Fax : 734-455-7090

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