03/18/2020

Elevating Stories #4: Anna Mia Davidson

By: Anna Mia Davidson

For more than two decades, photography has been my passion. I’ve used my camera to tell stories that aren’t being told, focusing on diverse cultures, social justice, and environmental issues. For several years, I documented daily life in Cuba, from the urban streets to the countryside. As a recent Elevating Stories presenter, I shared my perspective on visual storytelling and how a willingness to have a point of view can lead to more poignant and connected photographs.

I believe having a point of view about what I’m photographing is imperative. It’s what allows us to see in a deeper more sensitive way. When I embarked upon my Cuba book project, I began the visual journey with a romanticized notion of the Cuban revolution, looking for positive remnants throughout the island nation. But while on location, it became evident there was more to the visual truth that I could unveil. Over time, I better understood the complex dynamics and many layers. In Cuba Black and White I wrote, “it’s easy to romanticize revolution, it’s harder to live in its aftermath.”

I found beauty and ingenuity amongst struggles. I found a nation waiting for a change and hoping for a rebirth, reflected as a metaphor in my images of the maternity series. In my book I wrote, “It was ultimately within the shadows that I found Cuba’s dichotomies in all their beautiful trying complexities. …  Within revolution there’s music and the rhythm of life happens.” That rhythm of life is the pulse and essence of what Cuba felt like in all its dynamic truths. That is the feeling portrayed in the images in my book.

Achieving this deeper understanding was only possible by adopting a point of view, investing time, listening closely, and approaching the work with a willingness to see things differently.