In 1984, Tria Giovan moved to a tenement building on Clinton Street on New York City’s Lower East Side. She wandered the streets photographing as if in a foreign land. Loisaida— as it is known to some—was as gritty, authentic and humble as it was exotic, vibrant and colorful. The melding cultures and humanity she encountered inspired these photographs. Giovan left the neighborhood and the work behind in 1990 without ever editing or producing the majority of the photographs. The negatives languished until the pandemic. Tria Giovan: Loisaida New York Street Work 1984–1990 is a time capsule, a cultural and historical record of a 1980s Lower East Side that fostered robust communities of diverse populations, including the many immigrants who took pride in making Loisaida their home. Her images invite curiosity and evoke nostalgia about a place in a bygone era that has been forever altered through waves of gentrification. Part preservation, part humanistic engagement, this project contributes to a historical visual legacy of the ever-evolving, always evocative Lower East Side. Tria Giovan (born 1961) is the author of Cuba: The Elusive Island (1996), Sand Sea Sky: The Beaches of Sagaponack (2012) and The Cuba Archive (2017). Exhibited in the US and internationally, her work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Library of Congress, the Parrish Art Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Public Library.
Published by Damiani. Text by Silvana Paternostro.
Tria Giovan first traveled to Cuba in 1990. She returned 12 times over the next 6 years, shooting over 25,000 images. Immersing herself in Cuba’s history, literature and politics, Giovan photographed interiors of homes and businesses, city streets, landscapes and, most of all, the people, creating a compelling body of work that captured the subtleties and layered complexities of day-to-day life in Cuba. Twenty years after the publication of her first book of Cuban photographs, Cuba: The Elusive Island, Giovan has returned to these images, rediscovering in them a record of a Cuba that no longer exists. Tria Giovan: The Cuba Archive selects 120 of these images, many of which have never before been shown. Giovan reveals Cuba at a pivotal point in its fascinating history and bears witness to an inimitable, resilient and complex country and people.
Raised in the Caribbean, New York–based photographer Tria Giovan (born 1961) has published her work in Aperture, Esquire, Harpers, Travel & Leisure and Vogue, among many other publications. Her most recent monograph, Sand, Sea, Sky: The Beaches of Sagaponack, was published by Damiani in 2011. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Brooklyn Museum and the New York Public Library, among others. Photographs from The Cuba Archive will be featured in a 2017–18 exhibition on Cuba at the Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles.
The ocean and the beach have always provided humankind with ready metaphors for the infinite. For New York photographer Tria Giovan, the beaches of Long Island inspired a fascinating attempt to comprehend their vastness and that of the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Known for her portraits of Cuban daily life (collected in Cuba: The Elusive Island) and her regular publication in magazines such as Aperture, Elle, Harpers and Vogue, Giovan has traveled all over the globe throughout her 25-year career, but here she has decided to stay close to home. Accumulating roughly 10,000 photographs of the undisturbed Sagaponack beaches on the eastern end of Long Island, Giovan charted the change of seasons and myriad shifts of light and atmosphere as the tides rose and receded each day. With a selection of 63 captivating prints and an accompanying essay by ecologist Carl Safina, Sand Sea Sky offers the photographer’s meditations on fragility, the vastness of nature and the inevitability of change. As Giovan also observes: “these photographs of this vulnerable landscape invite a thoughtful concern about the environmental preservation of special places that engage our capacity for wonder.”