Thursday, October 12, 2017

Our New Book: Matanzas in the Viewfinder of Time!

With great pleasure and excitement, after prolonged anticipation, here I present our latest publication, our book “Matanzas en el Visor del Tiempo” or Matanzas in the Viewfinder of Time. It took several years of research to complete, from dream to reality, and it is now finally ready. We are proud that it will fill-in a gap in the history of our hometown, Matanzas city, Cuba. No doubt, the sacrifice and long wait it took to see it published was worthwhile. We hope it is as enjoyable to you as it is for us.

Concord Bridge, completed in 1878 by Spanish-born architect Pedro Celestino del Pandal y Sanchez

This book was written in Spanish by Leonel Pérez Orozco, Matanzas City Conservator, Luis R. González Arestuche, Matanzas-born architect and architecture historian, plus archaeologist Ricardo Viera Muñoz, and myself. Karell Bofill Bahamonde graced our work with his graphic design and modern photographic editing. And last but not least, the modern photographs of Jorge I. Rodríguez.

First leaf of Matanzas en el Visor del Tiempo (2017) Ed. Bolona.

Our book was idealized as a two-volume visual and historical compendium. We started it in 2012 and was completed by 2014, when it was tentatively published by the Felix Varela, publisher of the University of Havana. However, several reasons precluded it from being finally printed there. Finally, thanks to the help of the Office of the Conservator and city Historian of Matanzas, and Havana, specially Eusebio Leal Spengler, our book was published this month. It is a 725-page single volume with over 300 previously unedited and unpublished photographs, few as early as 1859 up to the present.

Matanzas's Cathedral of San Carlos de Borromeo,
patron saint of the city and one of its most emblematic locations.
View from early XX century and present.

This current edition (2017) outlines the architectural evolution and history of Matanzas city. Many of the photographs represent long-gone locations and buildings. It shows a full spectrum of lost patrimony, in the way of architecture and landscape design, that has characterized the changes of the last 100 years. It shows Cuban life as it was.

Some of the oldest photographs were taken by American photo-entrepreneurs, established in New York City, who sent their photographers to capture the “exotic” world of Spanish Cuba. Among them was E. Anthony and Co., who sent their photographer George N. Barnard to Cuba for their album “Cuban Views” (1860) and “American Views” (1870).

One of the oldest photographs known of Matanzas city. This one was taken in 1859 by G. N. Barnard
for E. Anthony and Co. "Cuban Views" stereoview album.

We take this opportunity to thank those friends and colleagues whose collaboration, patience, and insight made, no doubt, a large impression on the pages of our book and our experience.

Thank you so much.

Recommended citation: Pérez Orozco, L., L. R. Rodríguez Arestuche, J. Orihuela León, and R. A. Viera Muñoz (2017). Matanzas en el Visor del Tiempo. Editorial Boloña, La Habana.

See our upcoming publication for more details:

Orihuela, J. and R. A. Viera (2016). Fotografias historicas de la bateria de San Jose de la Vigia, Ciudad de Matanzas, Cuba. Revista Arqueologica Cuba Arqueologica, 9 (1): 1-9.

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