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Over the years, Cuba has been excellently represented through photography. On April 5th, 1840 a newspaper in Havana disclosed information about the first photographic apparatus on the island, which had arrived the previous month and had been damaged during the journey. Pedro Tellez de Giron, the owner of the camera, took the first photograph as reported. He shot it from a balcony at the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. Apparently this picture was lost or ruined by time. At the beginning of the Independence War, photographer Jose Gomez de la Carrera made a press report that set the basis for modern photojournalism and established standards hardly ever surpassed. The first publication specialised on the subject, Photographic Bulletin, was founded in 1882. Publisher Soler Alvarez released the book Photography at everyone's reach, in Havana, in 1887. Photographers like Generoso Funcasta, Lopez Ortiz, Martinez Hilla, Ernesto Ocaña and others have portrayed the period from the beginning of the century through the '30s. During this time, photography gained great importance through different periodic publications. We include a special mention for the works of Joaquin Blez, a highly acclaimed bourgeoisie photographer, who displayed exquisite taste in handling nudes and portraits. Through the cameras of Constantino Arias and Moises Hernandez, in the records of the Diary of Cuba in Santiago, or the Navy's Diary in Havana, and in the filling cabinets of Bohemia magazine, we can find a complete vision of the rapid social events that took place on the island during the years prior to the revolution. The revolution came and with it another group of photographers, they took the more widely published pictures of Cuban history. Among the most acknowledged from these decades are Alberto Diaz (Korda), Raul Corrales, Osvaldo Salas (he covered Fidel's visit to New York City in1955), and Ernesto Fernandez. We get a sight of the period after the revolution from the works of authors like "Marucha", "Mayito" and Roberto Salas. Sponsored by Casa de las Americas, the "First Sample of Cuban Culture" held on 1966, blended photography into the concert of all arts. In 1976 the "First Sample of Cuban Photography" was exhibited in Mexico; its success propitiated another exhibit a year later "History of Cuban Photography", in the same city. In recent years photographers are carrying out their work via photographic essays or performance. Outstanding for the beauty and contents of their compositions are the works of: Marta Maria Perez, Rene Peña, Abigail Gonzalez, Julio Larramendi (our staff photographer) and Cirenaica Moreira. Many of today's works are more illustrative than any documentary; others range from poetry to irony. The arrival of the Pope in Cuba opened yet another chapter in Cuban photography, one of many that has contributed to the last century.

One of the oldest cameras on the island can be seen in use today at the entrance of the Capital building, Havana. Thousands of tourists take home prints from this early camera every week.

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