Burt Glinn. Courtesy of Umbrage Gallery.
Havana: The Revolutionary Moment presents a unique collection of photographs by veteran Magnum photographer Burt Glinn, recording Fidel Castro’s historic entry into Havana in December 31,1958. In those turbulent days, Burt Glinn, a young photographer of thirty-three, almost the same age as the young jefe of the revolutionary movement, was at a black-tie New Year’s party with pals Clay Felker, and other New York glitterati, and passed the hat to borrow money then jumped a plane to Idlewild airport, arriving at dawn in battle-torn Havana. He advanced to meet the rebel caravan that moved toward the capital as one of only three western photographers to accompany Castro at the time. Glinn found his quarry at Santa Clara amid the general excitement and euphoria, and from a ramshackle taxi joined the advancing army.
From that adventure emerged these remarkable images—of Fidel thronged by his countrymen and women along the road to Havana, of troops embracing, of cheering civilians, and of fierce men and women taking up arms in the streets—all full of the revolutionary fervor and idealistic anticipation that characterized that moment in Cuban history. The show opened to great acclaim at the Fototeca de Havana in 2001, inaugurated by Fidel himself, and has toured since. It includes bilingual captions and text panels along with poetry excerpts from José Marti Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and Nancy Morison.
Burt Glinn first became known for his spectacular color coverage of the South Seas, Japan, Russia, Mexico and California. Collaborating with author Laurens van der Post, he has produced two books: A Portrait of All the Russia and A Portrait of Japan. Glinn was one of the original contributing editors of New York Magazine. He authored editorial stories for magazines such as Esquire, GEO, Travel and Leisure, and Fortune, and published reportage in magazines such as Life and Paris-Match, covering the Sinai War, the U.S. Marine invasion of Lebanon, Castro’s takeover of Cuba, and the integration of schools in Little Rock. A past president of the American Society of Media Photographers, and a member of the Magnum Photographic Cooperative, having served at different times as its president and Chairman of the Board, he received many awards, including the Mathew Brady Award as the Magazine Photographer of the Year from the University of Missouri and the Encyclopedia Britannica; and the Award for the Best Book of Photographic Reporting from Abroad from the Overseas Press Club. Glinn had one-man shows at the Photographers Gallery in London, The International Center of Photography, and the Nikon Gallery in New York and at the Sag Harbor Picture Gallery. Group shows include In Our Time at the International Center of Photography, New York and major cities; Magnum Cinema, Magnum East, and 1968, all at the Newseum, New York City and Washington, D.C. Burt Glinn, derring-do photographer, ripping raconteur, leftist, and Harvard man, died in 2008 in New York, aged 75.