Photo by Tom Daly

Photo by Tom Daly


Presenter, 2012

“In the fall of 1992, I made my fist trip to Cuba, on a cheap week-long package tour bought in Merida, Mexico. For many years I had strongly desired Cuba, as if longing for a woman that you meet only once and can’t get out of your mind. I’m almost certain I lived there in another life.”
—Ernesto Bazan

Ernesto Bazan was born in Palermo, on the island of Sicily, in Italy, in 1959. He received his first camera when he was fourteen years old and began photographing daily life in his native city and in the rural areas of Sicily. To Bazan, photography has been more than a profession: It is his true passion, his mission in life.

At the age of nineteen, Bazan went to New York City to study photography at the School of Visual Arts, from which he graduated, in 1982. Bazan has published several books: The Perpetual Past, Passing Through, The First Twenty Years, Island, and Molo Nord.

In 2008, his recently launched publishing house, BazanPhotos Publishing, released his book Bazan Cuba on his fourteen years of life and photography on the island. In May 2009, the book was awarded Best Book of the Year at the New York Photo Festival. The photographer’s next book, Al Campo, an in-depth color exploration of life in the Cuban countryside, was published in 2011 also by BazanPhotos Publishing.

Bazan has had exhibitions of his work in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. His photographs have been acquired by collectors and museums, including MoMA and the International Center for Photography in New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina; the Southeast Museum of Photography, in Daytona, Florida; the Fondazione Italiana della Fotografia, in Turin, Italy; the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, in Paris; and the Musée Réattu, in Arles, France.

From 1992 to 2006, Bazan lived in and photographed the island of Cuba, documenting the unique time in Cuban history called the Special Period. This body of work has given him the privilege to win some of the world’s most prestigious photographic awards, among them The W. Eugene Smith Grant; Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography, the Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize prize at Duke University, North Carolina, the World Press Photo award and fellowships from the Alicia Patterson Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.