Kenyon College
 

Untitled (Turkeys), 2010

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Arien Chang Castán (Cuban, b. 1979)

Untitled (Turkeys), 2010
Color photograph
frame: 16 x 20 inches
Gift of David Horvitz ’74 and Francie Bishop Good, 2018.1.3

Much of Arien Chang Castán’s photography focuses on documenting the complexities of Cuba, his home and birthplace. His work sets out to reach deeper than Havana’s decaying buildings and old cars which have become so iconic to foreign eyes, and into the many joys and difficulties of contemporary daily life for Cubans. Though he began photographing with black and white film, Chang Castán later transitioned to digital, experimenting with color [1] to capture scenes such as Untitled (Turkeys). Due to a lack of color materials and technology, photography in Cuba has been largely black and white until recently [2]. These limitations have undoubtedly influenced photographic style in Cuba, and Chang Castán continues to work mostly in black and white, using color only when an image begs to be captured in color.

The multicolored wall and the warmth of the sunlight are important expressions of color in this photograph. As well as giving the viewer a sense of the setting and time of day, the use of color in Untitled (Turkeys) highlights some of the more subtle actions occurring in the scene, such as the child upside-down against the wall. Despite the human presence in this scene, the turkeys are the photographer’s subject; the sunlight streams onto the turkeys in the foreground while the children are in the shadows in the background. Chang Castán depicts the normalcy of the relationship between human and animal in this setting, as the children are unfazed, even bored, by the turkeys which pass them by.

Julia Cullen `21

[1] Valle, Firuzeh Shokooh, “Nine Questions for Arien Chang Castán, a Photographer from Havana,” Global Voices, January 27, 2014, https://globalvoices.org/2014/01/27/nine-questions-for-arien-chang-castan-a-photographer-from-havana/.

[2] Vermare, Pauline, “Art Historian Ilana Cepero,” International Center of Photography, August 11, 2015, https://www.icp.org/interviews/art-historian-iliana-cepero

 
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