May Days Book: MAY DAYS
MAY DAYS | Dana Mueller
Publisher: Fraction Editions (2018)
Printer: Kehrer Design, Germany
Cover + text design: Shawn Bush
Limited edition of 500, soft cover, 6.75 x 9 inches (170mm x 228mm), 98 pages, 65 plates, 13 gatefolds
May Days is my first monograph. I have worked on this series of photographs in book form for the past three years. In 2014 and also the following year I taught photography at the Centro de Estudios Martianos (Center for the Studies of José Martí) based in Havana, where I met Cuban friends who introduced me to attitudes, views, and life of the island. The series of photographs are a visual record of my time-- during the days of May--and encounters with people and places which seemed significant to me at this specific moment.
Hoping to go beyond my own understanding of Cuba based on the associations of a foreigner, I became aware of how much lies beyond one’s comprehension. Frequently, nothing was as it appeared, and the surface was too easily misinterpreted. The verve of its people and punctuations of the everyday were what kept me connected.
Although I grew up in the former East Germany, it was important to me not to see things through the filter of socialism and economic hardship - albeit only too apparent - but through social and human engagement that was serendipitous and open. Living in a politically and socially contained system, the deep desire to turn inward felt familiar.
As days passed, I began to see things around me as hieroglyphs of a condition: a society in transition, the atmosphere of anticipation and waiting for change, while wanting to live each day fully and lend meaning to the hour. The singular moments of my journey are those of exchange and, eventually, recognition.