A few weeks ago I received an email from Ron Herman, a dynamic and gifted photographer and chair of Foothill College’s photography department sharing with me a cover story in the Palo Alto Weekly about his customized Reality Tour to Cuba.
The article called “A Changing Cuba: Cuban, Local Photographers Reveal the Heart of the Country” featured the story of Ron and those that traveled with him. In it was a detailed narrative with beautiful imagery about the customized Reality Tour Ron made happen, a rich testament to dreams becoming reality, specifically Ron Herman’s photographic educational travel dream becoming a Reality Tour!
After reading the article, I asked Ron if I could share it and include a few of his words about why he created the customized Reality Tour and why he choose to partner with Global Exchange. Here is what he had to say:
Like many, the mystique of Cuba has always intrigued me. Right now, Cuba is at a transitional point, and I believe that the Cuba today will look and be very different from the Cuba tomorrow. I decided that the timing was right to make this trip a reality, and so I contacted Global Exchange to arrange a customized tour for my group of photography professionals.
Global Exchange’s Reality Tours emphasize education and relationship building to improve international relations. Cultural exchange is very important to my personal travel philosophy, so I knew Global Exchange would be the right organization to arrange our trip. When developing our tour, they made sure that every day was one where we learned something new and unexpected about Cuba. They incorporated a variety of activities where both cultures could learn from each other, which in the end, resulted in a socially responsible and personally rewarding travel experience.
In 2010 and 2011, I led groups of photographers to Cuba to engage in activities that brought photographers from both countries together to share ideas and information. We mounted an exhibition of our work in Cuba and upon our return, mounted two joint photography exhibitions of Cuban and American work. These exhibition opportunities are just one link in the chain that connects American and Cuban photographers, and I hope we’ll see more creative collaborations in the future.
On behalf of Reality Tours we thank Ron for working with us and look forward to building upon the relationships we have been developing between his community and those in Cuba. The relationships as captured by these Cuban and American artists are revealed in their images as is a shared spirit of education.
TAKE ACTION! For those of you in the Bay Area check out “Cuba in Focus,” an exhibition by 11 American photographers (Katherine Bazak, Mary Bender, Harlan Crowder, Lisa D’Alessandro, Ron Her- man, Bob Hills, Mary Ellen Kaschub, Robin Lockner, Laura Oliphant, Cynthia Sun and John Thacker) and seven Cuban photographers (Guillermo Bello, Raúl Cañibano, Mario Diaz, José Manuel Fors, Eduardo Garcia, Jorge Gavilondo and Perfecto Romero) at the Krause Center for Innovation, Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. The exhibition runs through Dec. 8.
As Eduardo Garcia, one of the Cuban photographers who met with the group and has work in the exhibition, “We photographed together with common goals. Now our American friends can show our reality from their perspective. For us, it’s important to gain the friendship of people who care about Cuba.”
Go to Cuba! Find out how you can travel to Cuba with Global Exchange Reality Tours.