Cuba: One Nashvillian’s View

Photographer John Partipilo aims his lens at a country that seems trapped in time

John Partipilo is a hell of a photographer.

If you say that to him, he’ll smile or say thanks or demur, saying he was lucky to catch a particular moment. But don’t let the modesty fool you — people don’t get this lucky. He has a rare skill for capturing place. For years, Partipilo’s award-winning work leapt off the pages of The Tennessean. When he decided to leave, he turned his attention to a variety of projects, including a few for the Scene.

These photos are a sliver of what Partipilo captured during his three trips to Cuba between May 2016 and March 2017. What you’ll find — beyond simply the gorgeous colors of a country that often seems trapped in time — is the thing that has always defined his best work: humanity. From the streets of Havana to sugarcane workers in the fields, Partipilo captures the vibrancy of a nation long shut off from Americans. (And, thanks to the Trump administration, one that will largely be shut off from U.S. citizens once again.)

These pictures and more will be part of three different displays of Partipilo’s Cuba trips in the coming months. First, Morgan James Publishing will release a book of his photos, Cuba: My World Ends Here, in August, in conjunction with a show at The Studio 208 gallery beginning Thursday, Aug. 3. Then, stills from his trip with Raul Malo of The Mavericks will air on a PBS special on Cuban musicians, Havana Time Machine, on Oct. 6.

It’s deserved attention for one of Nashville’s finest shooters. To see more of his work, go to —

See photo gallery here.

Steve Cavendish, Nashville Scene

July 13, 2017


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