John Rusnak

BIOGRAPHY

Photographer John Michael Rusnak makes images that draw on documentary and social commentary. Often using large-scale Polaroids, his work can often resemble updated religious icons, with centrally placed figures, the use of diptychs or triptychs, and nearly religious zeal. Much of his work has been made recording the people and culture of Cuba and the trauma of colonialism. With portraits of soldiers, school children, nuns, and others, his work aims at reevaluating the West’s relationship to and recognition of the island and its inhabitants. His 2013 photo and video series Fear of Nostalgia was made to honor the 160th birthday of José Martí, the intellectual and philosophical godfather of Cuba’s revolution for independence from Spain in the late 19th century. Originally trained as a fashion photographer and photojournalist, Rusnak’s work and advocacy for Cuba has developed as art and social outreach projects.