Escape to the island 

Forensics photographer captures life in Cuba

Forensics photographer captures life in Cuba
If the cool, cloudy days of Indiana Novembers make you long for warmth and sunshine, you might find some relief in a photo exhibit that runs through the last two weeks of this month. John Cook's Cuba: Images from Beyond the Blockade explores the everyday landscape and people of Cuba, featuring images from Havana, Santiago and Cuba's scenic countryside.
This photo and many others like it will be on display at IUPUI Nov. 16-30.
Cook, a photographer for the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency, was part of a class that is offered by the Department of Geography in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Cook took the course, Geography of Cuba, when IUPUI offered it for the third time last summer. In his photos, Cook captures the beauty of the people and the land. In contrast to the crime scenes he documents for a living, Cuba provided Cook with living material: its architecture, its countryside and, most of all, its people. He said it was nice to photograph live people for a change. The exhibit offers a unique opportunity to experience life in Cuba through the eyes of an American photographer. He took 1,600 images over a period of two weeks, from locations in Havana, the western tobacco region of Pinar del Rio, Santiago and the Guantánamo coast, the first Spanish settlement at Baracoa. According to associate professor and geography department chair Timothy Brothers, who headed up the trip, "This course, the first U.S. geography course to be taught in collaboration with the University of Havana's Geography Department, has taken students from one end of the island to the other to explore the origins of Cuba's urban and rural landscapes." Unfortunately, this trip might be the last for some time. In August, Brothers adds, the Bush Administration "tightened restrictions on travel to Cuba, eliminating essentially all academic programs in an effort to weaken the Castro regime." The exhibit was organized in celebration of Geography Awareness Week and the IUPUI International Festival. It runs from Nov. 16-30 in University College, Room 115. Opening remarks will begin at 10 a.m. on the opening day. For more information, contact professor Timothy Brothers at 317-274-1101 or at tbrother@iupui.edu.

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