Piercing the Darkness


Susan S. Bank peels away the veneer from Havana, that maddening, mythical metropolis with one eye on the Florida Straits. An imaginary tropical urban paradise, Havana is flirtatious and consistently inconsistent. Bypassing worn out clichés, Bank illuminates the invisible with her iconic, metaphorical black and white photographs.
In the first decade of the 21st century she made more than 20 extended visits to the island, living in homes of habaneros in order to more closely observe the struggles of their daily lives. Bank focused her Leica M6 on multi-layered ordinary moments – moments in which reality slips seamlessly into the surreal. Edited and sequenced by Bank, her Havana work presents a timeless narrative of passion, utopian dreams, and disappointments.

Acknowledging ripples of change stirring the tropical air, tomorrow remains a date with uncertainty. In his essay, Waiting for the Invisible, John T. Hill writes: Piercing the Darkness is a ‘gem of Haiku verses, full of profound and magical ambiguities focusing on what is common to defining our humanity’.

Piercing the Darkness follows her self-published monograph Cuba: Campo Adentro, a portrait of rural life, honored as Best Books of the Year 2009 by PHotoEspaña and Photo-eye books.

  • ISBN:978-0-9897627-9-3
  • Designer: Jesse Holborn, Design Holborn
  • Essay by John T. Hill
  • 10 1/2″ x 12 1/2″
  • Casebound, cloth with dust jacket
  • 128 pages
  • 77 photo plates
  • All photos were meticulously edited to print as quadtones with 400 line hybrid screening.
  • Paper: Phoenix Motion Xantur
  • Printing and Binding: Brilliant Graphics, Exton, PA

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