Fidel Castro, embargos, poverty, and zombies. Cuba has been mired in such political and economic turmoil since Castro took power in 1959 that it's difficult to see past such issues.
But Cuba is and always has been an island country filled with awe-inspiring natural splendor. And a current exhibit by Florida's own Ansel Adams, photographer Clyde Butcher, brings Cuba's raw essence to the foreground again.
"Cuba: The Natural Beauty," currently on view at Miami's Center for Visual Communication through May 8, features Butcher's images shot during an expedition sponsored by the United Nations, which provided unlimited access to all of Cuba.
Butcher is well-known and widely praised for his photographs of the Florida Everglades. Butcher and his family moved into the middle of Big Cypress National Preserve in 1993, where he's been surrounded by gators and wild orchids ever since.
Their move to a remote part of the South Florida wilderness was inspired by the death of their teenage son, who was killed by a drunk driver.
"We needed to do something positive rather than negative with our lives," he told Shutterbug magazine, "and this untouched place still gives me a sense of the beginning of time. I knew this was where I needed to photograph."
His large-scale Cuba photographs, featuring powerful waterfalls, expansive horizons, and endless vistas, tap into that same restorative power of uncontaminated landscapes.
Click below for a photo preview of "Cuba: A Natural Beauty":