May Days • Dana Mueller
Soft cover, 6.75 x 9 inches, 98 pages, 13 Gatefolds, Edition of 500, Fraction Editions.
Dana Mueller’s first monograph May Days is a record of the artist’s experience in Cuba during the month of May. While teaching photography in Havana, Cuba in 2014 and 2015, Mueller investigated the culture through her own photographic narrative and her images are connected by her understanding of the attitudes, views, and life of the island. Her story is of an outsider’s perspective of daily life, the condition, the vitality and decay within the city. Mueller plays on some of the common subjects and themes but she tells a very different story. Mueller’s East German upbringing has a strong influence on her aesthetic, yet, this filter does not force images that dictate the narrative. She hints at the what she calls seeing “through the filter of socialism and economic hardship – although only too apparent – but through social and human engagement that was serendipitous and open.”
Her images are visual and each stands alone as quiet moments of everyday life in Cuba. In the individual photographs, she hints at themes that are often seen in images of Cuba through symbolic imagery – issues with infrastructure, jobs, and architectural renovation; the hold of socialist politics, contrasted with the vitality and vibrancy of the people, yet, her subtle and muted-colored images speak to each other and are a well-conceived and unique view of this tropical, lively, and verdant country.