The Face of the City (Photo Feature)

Cuban photographer Ruber Osoria shows us some of his work.

Text and photos: Ruber Osoria

HAVANA TIMES – I was born in the small town of Contramaestre, in eastern Cuba. I come from a humble family, where most of them and Cubans imagine Chile as a very civilized country, with wealthy, sophisticated and noble people. This made it one of the top 5 countries to emigrate to. 

I never imagined myself staying there, let alone living and working. It was an impossible dream for a young man like me.

Before getting to Chile, I knew nothing about this country aside from its soccer team, Neruda’s poems and some emblematic places like the Atacama Desert.

The Face of the City is a series of photographs that I took in Chile during 2018-19. It was an exploration of a culture that was very different to my home, as well as my own “cultural shock”.

I am interested in observing human behavior in the public space, with fresh eyes, and finding a very different idiosynchrasy to that described by a tour guide.

Using my lens of street photography.

It represents a kind of personal diary that has recorded all of the things that I have encountered in my everyday life here in Chile. It also reflects my perspective as a Cuban photographer, who is living in a completely foreign and different environment.

Only with a burning patience can we conquer the splendid City which will give light, justice and dignity to all mankind. In this way the song will not have been sung in vain. – Pablo Neruda

I walk down the streets in the Bio Bio region (Chile) and capture strangers, in a narrow and futile attempt that is my photography. As the lives they represent, as the life almost all of us share.

I search for the hint of transcendence in fleeting gestures and looks, in transitory moments of connection in the urban flow, in the brief dance of lights, colors, shadows and human presence.

In short, capturing infinitesimal external signs of an interior emotional life is what moves me. People’s inner worlds even when they are in more public spaces.

My photographs are a design of the transitory agglutination of the photographer and context, myself and the other. The city unites us, the city differentiates us. Sinking in the passing by of metropolitan life.

My photographs are relics of a momentary fusion between photographer and his surroundings, myself and the other. The city unites us, the city differentiates us. Immersing myself in the flow of city life, I can feel the limits of myself become fluid, permeable, in certain moments. I let myself go with the flow.

The following photographs are both portraits of the people they represent, as well as a moment of being, a brief but charged intercrossing of lives. They are my weak protest against oblivion in cities.

See more photo galleries here on Havana Times.