Cuba's Lush Green Urban Decay

The landscape of Michael Eastman's photographs is lush, organic and green, but the subject matter is the rotting interior of buildings. The botanical elements of a traditional still-life are replaced by the wild overgrowth of patinaed and tattered walls teetering on the edge of a by-gone era.

While the photographs are contemporary art meant to shed light on the economic realities in present day Cuba, there is an odd beauty in each frame. Eastman captures the nostalgia of Cuba's past grandeur in carefully crafted vignettes, which are remarkable even when examined purely for aesthetic design.

Eastman's interiors are perfect compositions of photographic art because they incorporate the discoloration of the walls and chips in the tiles without overtly glamorizing the imperfections of the space. There are no $5000 couches highlighting the rustic beauty of these dilapidated rooms. There is true heart breaking distress in the walls, which creates the dark nostalgic appeal of the photographs and the interiors.

Eastman has established himself as one of the world’s leading contemporary photographic artists. The self-taught photographer has spent four 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. Eastman is most recognized for his explorations of architectural form and the textures of decay, which create mysterious narratives about time and place. He continues to resist the digital movement, capturing his images on film and printing them himself.

All Images: Michael Eastman Cuba Portfolio

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