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 Center for the Studies of Jose Marti, 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.
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 - although only too apparent - but through social and human engagement that was serendipitous and open. I conceived the work in book format from the start and am excited to present it for publication in 2018.
Responses to May Days:
I’ve been fortunate enough to see this project evolve. What I love most about the book is what I perceive to be a very sensitive and delicate rhythm that carries you through the pages, cover to cover. When I first had a look at May Days I remember thinking of Shen Wei’s “Chinese Sentiment,” which is one of my favorite monographs of the last few years. With Shen’s book there’s this moment when you separate your impressions of China, especially the political, and you begin to see the work as a journal or a memoire… it’s like he’s collecting something. It defies the politics and embraces the personal. Don’t get me wrong, China is there in Shen’s book just as Cuba is in Dana’s, but in both cases they don’t depend on it. For me it’s what makes May Days so successful… Dana has created a volume that challenges our perceptions of Cuba by not focusing on the “Cuba” we’ve seen a million times over.
The rhythm of the book leads you from moments of energy through quiet expanses where each page is as much about discovery as it is about a meditation, a loneliness, a happiness, some solitude, and even celebration. It’s as though she keeps looking for something she loves, and because of that, it gives us the opportunity to connect to the work on a much deeper level.
- Andrew Mroczek, Associate Director of Exhibitions, Lesley Art + Design, Cambridge, MA
MAY DAYS | Dana Mueller
Soft cover, 6.75 x 9 inches (170mm x 228mm), 98 pages, 65 plates
Limited edition of 500
Publisher: Fraction Editions
Printed in Germany
Anticipated publication: May 2018