The Buzz

Spirit Of Havana // David Gingold in the Visitors Center Gallery

About The Show: 

These photographs were made in 2012 when retired Radio Broadcasting Executive, David Slocum Gingold, visited Cuba to photograph the people and architecture of Havana. David captured the spirit of Havana several years before the city was more freely available to photo-journalists. He met this challenge using Nikon single lens reflex bodies and Nikon lenses. Post processing was kept to a minimum so that final prints would be true to what was seen through his lens. Because of David’s untimely death in December 2012 no additional prints will ever be made of these memorable photographs.

Interview with the artist's father, Lester Gingold:

MBG: It's remarkable to think that David came directly from radio broadcasting and picked up a camera for the first time. His images have all the elements that would be present in the compositions of a trained photographer. His placement of lines, color, and focal point suggest a deep love for, and understanding of, the medium. He's using actual film which appears to be properly exposed in-camera—a rarity of technical skill in photography these days! Can you talk a bit about his love of photography and whether he was actually a new photographer when he visited Cuba?

LG: David showed artistic talent in his early years. He was always encouraged by his mother, sculptor Joyce Gingold, and art teacher at St. Mary’ Episcopal School, for over 40 years. His home surroundings represented some of Memphis’s and the world’s most famous artists. For five years David took courses at the Memphis Art Academy (now the Memphis  College of Art), and developed skills that would have led to a career in the arts. 

MBG: One thing that is striking in David's photographs is the rhythm of visual elements present in his images—in the way he saw things. Was he drawn to Cuba because of the music? Anything you can share about why he chose Havana would be great.

LG: Along with art, David also had a great interest in music, playing the guitar at an early age and collecting the albums of great musicians. He was always fascinated by the sounds of Latin music, so in some ways it was not surprising that Cuba and it’s music would prove an attraction. David read some book or magazine daily and Hemingway was one of his favorite authors. He spent time in Hemingway’s haunts during his stay in Havana.

MBG: In his artist statement you mention Cuba not being as freely available to photo-journalists as it is today...Can you share some of the Cuban political climate or history that interested David? 

LG: As well as authors, David diligently studied the work of  famous photographers, and he aspired to becoming so proficient that one day his work might be of museum quality. Realizing photo-journalists from America were not always welcome in Havana, his trip there was planned  for his entry to the Island from another country. David felt challenged to produce a quality of  photos from Havana that would depict the energy he felt in being there.

Posted by Stephanie Cosby at 2:02 PM


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