Arien Chang Castán

Artist Statement

In the beginning everything was in black and white; rolls of film went directly from my camera to the dark room. Digital technology ultimately arrived a few years later in Cuba, and with it emerged my interest in color. To be able to compose, not only with lights and shadows but also with the diversity of colors, textures, and forms that characterize the Cuban landscape—that is my current challenge. Photography is my way of seeing the world; it is as if what I am not able to capture with the lens of my camera does not exist.


Thousands of images pass before our eyes every day without us even realizing it. Documentary photography has always seduced me with its ability to show and reveal what is hidden, what goes unnoticed, the inner workings of daily monotony—many times these things are more attractive, and from a certain point of view, they demand more rigor in their composition, use of color, light, “manipulation” of the moment. All those things are more difficult when a place is known already than in the presence of something new, when everything seems different and exciting. With my work I try to share part of the daily life of Cubans, to discover instances of another reality, one in which the individual is protagonist of an unrepeatable moment. I try to create images in which the situations re-create a story, in which they represent themselves in/as the reality of a life many times ignored by the very subjects who live it.


My main influence is the work of photographers from the twentieth century who accomplished a documentary photography with an incredible symbiosis of the magical realism that we find in the habitual, tedious passage of life.

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