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03 Rick Swig

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  • Rick Swig picked up a camera as a college student in the early 1970s, studied documentary film for awhile, and then dropped photography until waking up to the craft 25 years later in the early 1990s. 

    A significant catalyst that kindled the spirit of a broader need to capture photographic images was a trip to Cuba in 1995. Awash in sights and sounds of the island, he was stimulated by both the energy of the indigenous culture and a significant 40-year history of documentary photography after 1955. Rick’s photojournalist muses appeared in Cuba to push him further along his personal photographic path. The Cuban spirit of a collegial and collaborative culture enabled a welcoming embrace to celebrate and capture daily life through the lens of his camera, as well as to experience, befriend, and photograph the island’s most formidable fine artists and musicians. 

    Ultimately, in 2015 Rick presented his first public exhibition in Havana at the Fresa y Chocolate Cultural Center. The show, entitled “Pasion” was curated by important cinematographer and still photographer, Roberto Chile.

    After 30 visits in Cuba noted painters and sculptors became collaborators, each presenting an artwork with one of Rick’s portraits of them, in an exhibit in March 2019 in Havana, entitled “12+1”. Black-and-white images of musicians were featured in Rick’s most recent exhibition, in January 2020 in Havana at the Raul Corrales Gallery, entitled, “Jazz Cuba +”

    Other exhibitions of Rick’s work have included: in Havana at the Teodoro Ramos Gallery in 2016; in Trinidad, Cuba (curated by Roberto Diago) in 2018; and in Communiagua, Cuba (curated by Nelson Dominguez) in 2019.

    Rick has also been documenting performances of jazz and popular musicians for the last 20 years at popular music festivals, while becoming a staff photographer for SFJazz in San Francisco. 

    Rick hopes that his work allows viewers to appreciate his subjects, whether captured from the concert stage, settings of urban or rural landscapes, or in the intimacy of a studio environment. A broader view of Rick’s photography may be discovered at www.rickswigphotography.com.

  • Discover More at the Center for Cuban Studies

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