Havana, Magnificent Decay
Photography works by Kendall Kay
My reality is not yours. Your reality is not mine. One of the powers of photography is that it captures moments….visually. I ask myself: What can I do with that? What can you do with it? Let’s see what happens when you see through the eyes of another.
Some know him for his love for food and fine dinning (KKayCooks). Others know him for his love to travel. When both of his passions come together, we have his love for photography - a life long passion to document experiences, places and magical moments.
Havana: Magnificent Decay
I am fascinated with how we perceive reality and communicate our experiences.
Most people feel sure that they are in touch with reality: that they are hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling things as they really are.
But psychological science shows that what we experience as “reality” is constructed on a moment-to-moment basis in the brain, and different brains experience the world differently. Memory doesn’t record our experiences like a video or still camera.
It creates stories based on experiences. The stories are sometimes uncannily accurate, sometimes completely fictional, and often a mixture of the two; and they can change to suit the situation.
I use photography as the medium to record what I see at a particular moment.
The images are not photoshopped. I crop and slightly modify light/colors. My intent is to present images that can create a story of a particular moment of time, sharing my version of a reality I saw.
My first trip to Cuba was March 2000 to Camaguey. This was for my step-daughter’s wedding to a local Cuban boy. Staying at a small hotel (not a posh foreign resort), we were struck by how friendly and family centered Cubans were . The area felt safer than many other Caribbean Islands. Her soon to be husband’s family and friends shared their homes and hearts with an abundance of spirit with us. They needed that abundance of spirit as most material things were in short supply. Store shelves were empty. The hotel ran out of food and electricity as the week went on. Somehow though, on the day of the impromptu wedding, food, drinks and music magically appeared. It was a celebration to remember. When we left Camaguey to spend a few days at Casa Coco resort, we were astounded at the contrast: an abundance of food, drink, electricity all for the Italian, Spanish, German and Canadian tourists…we saw Cuba as a land of extreme contrasts.
My next trip to Cuba was to Havana in May 2019. The Trump administration was cracking down on US travel. The trip was planned under a cultural exchange for me to visit Cuban citizens and learn about their culture. I was not to support any of the Government run establishments (Hotels, Restaurants, etc) as they were under U.S. sanctions. Again, I witnessed the scarcity of the non-material in most Cubans’ lives. However, there is an incredible richness in the art, music, architecture, practicality and intellect of the people I met. I saw a breathtaking beautiful city falling into decay, primarily because of the lack of good government and the US sanctions that hurt the regular Cuban people. There is a sense of “Waiting for Godot” in the land. I fear that Havana and Cuba may be at a tipping point and the decay will be irreversible unless the Government or US sanctions change soon.
Kendall Kay Biography
Kendall Kay was born at 8:28 pm, on 08/08/1953 in Montreal, Quebec.
As a child, Kendall was inquisitive and observant, he liked to watch people and their behaviors.
Growing up in Montreal, Kendall was exposed to many cultural and societal differences.
This was compounded by Expo 67 when the world come to visit. Then in 1969 Canada was made officially bilingual, with a “distinct French speaking society” residing mainly in Quebec and an “English-speaking society” for the rest of Canada.
As a result, Kendall became more fascinated about communication: how messages are received and interpreted and the systemic process in which individuals interact with symbols to interpret those messages.
In elementary and secondary school he was consumed with painting, drawing, photography, animation and designing special effects /lighting for theatre productions. He studied for a year at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with some of Canada’s top artists and later graduated with a Communication Arts Diploma from Cambrian College in North Bay, Ontario.
Starting his career as a graphic designer, photographer and printer, he then founded and operated an advertising and marketing agency in Northern Ontario for over a decade.
Driven by wander-lust and the need to experience more, he moved to Toronto, joining a multi-national financial services firm. He lead creative communication solutions for their Canadian, Hong Kong and United States markets. After moving to Boston almost three decades ago, Kendall has worked in the US for various Fortune 500 companies as a successful communications and strategic consultant, while earning a personal reputation as being a “Bon Vivant”.
Now, he spends most of his time wandering around cities and locations with his camera, a flaneur with a keen eye.