Photography is all about exposure. Not only in terms of light entering the camera's lens, but also in the way photographs expose a point of view, a perspective, a reality of the artist who composes them. Never have I seen this lesson so clearly as when I was sweating through my shorts, struggling to concentrate on the colorful Spanish of Cuban photographer, Irolan Marodelli, showing me his work in his rooftop studio in Havana.
In a country where the words "truth" and "reality" are entirely relative terms, one artist is sharing a glimpse of his perspective through his camera lens. Working entirely in the darkroom and using himself as his primary model, Irolan uses powerful metaphors to deliver his criticism on Cuban society and politics.
Irolan's work is strong, visceral, and real. You can understand it in any language. His perspective is his story, and he tells that story boldly and unapologetically as the truth because that is his reality, the reality of his point of view.
"It probably won't happen because my art isn't that well spread, but they could knock on my door any day and tell me that what I'm doing isn't allowed," Irolan explains the threat of government censorship.
Cuba's tradition of censorship began silencing artists in the 1970s, and currently prevents Irolan from exhibiting his most poignant work. Because the bulk of Irolan's portfolio criticizes the island's political leaders, he works under the assumption that most of his art could never be freely put into the public eye. But that doesn't stop him from expressing his point of view.
"I'm going to keep creating no matter what. If I have the idea, I'm gonna express it. You see, they can censor art but what they can't censor is the human mind."