"As he had endeavored in Saint Petersburg, Titarenko has plumbed the soul of the Cuban capital with this body of work, transcending the overly romantic facade most often presented to the American public. Avoiding the gemlike blues and greens commonly associated with the island’s Caribbean beauty, Titarenko shot his project in black and white, emphasizing instead the dusty grays of crumbling concrete that predominate in the city’s outskirts. A master printer, Titarenko subtly crafts his images in the darkroom, toning and bleaching them to add depth and achieve a nuanced palette of silvers. The results imbue his work with a deeply personal and emotional quality, while rendering each print a singular object and a unique interpretation of his experience.
"In its subject and deliberate craftsmanship, Titarenko’s work pays homage to Walker Evans’s influential 1930s portrayal of Havana, which surveyed the city’s poverty and riches under the then-dictator Gerardo Machado. But stylistically Titarenko’s visual signature makes nods to the island’s contemporary circumstance. His Havana appears caught in a dream. Simultaneously of the present while trapped in stasis, it is by turns an appealing and uncomfortable place, one filled with light but dominated by gray, populated by beautiful and shadowy traces of reality and built of unsettled hopes. It murmurs something both vivid and unresolved, waiting to awake."
Brett Abbott, Curator of Photography, High Museum of Art
From the essay "Waiting to Awake," as published in The City is a Novel (Damiani, 2015)