Juan Carlos Alom
Acetic acid, I was born through smell—and I say “born” instead of “began” because that does justice to the exact sense of my destiny. I was a boy playing among machines in the lab of a publisher where my mother worked as a proofreader and designer. I sought out the coolest corners in that Havana place when, together with the smell of developer and the stories that gathered there, I discovered my own calling: to be a photographer.
The job of creating an image, of fixing on paper what the soul intuits and sees in the world, has required of me a sometimes enormous effort. It has pushed me to break down barriers of geography, to open a warm-water channel through to the person I am. To create images is something more than a job; it is the most emotional profession that I can sincerely embrace. Each step I’ve taken in my career, each mountain I’ve climbed, each ocean I’ve crossed, each person I have discovered, is displayed in my work directly, with the forwardness of the visual poetry that is contained in the mystery of existence. Above all else, I walk, breathe, and feel. My photos beat strongly, throb with life.
I have been working continuously for many years. Each dynamic space where I have developed my work has been a page full of incidents, anecdotes, memories. I look back in time and see myself in a house in Havana, giving shape to the images of rich people. Walking the streets of my Cuba, slight voices helped me to photograph a certain dark book. My camera, like a compass, pushed me to explore new lands, vistas, anthropologies, and also certain absurdities.
When the aesthetic wall has fallen, leaving behind the structure of experience, the emotional, the honest, the photograph still stands.