Text by: Ilona Hernández
All of us see the same way but not all of us can see the same thing. This results in some people taking photographs while others can only see the printed, image. Fernando Francisco Valdés Álvarez can see what we can't.
There are many Fernando's, he has said, so that is how the name Ferval was born and that is the moniker that is well known to photographers and collectors of photographic art.
He was educated as an engineer in food chemistry and worked in that field until discovering photography. He made his first attempts with a borrowed Russian Zenith camera and he "would shoot everything that moved." He had his start at Avance, the newspaper of the Cuban Navy, where he arrived fully passionate about photography. Following that job, he started as a photo-reporter for the Prensa Latina News Agency where he has worked for the last nine years.
He "saw" the subject he was searching for, in his final test as a photo-reporter, while riding a bus and noticing the collapse of a building. "1 got there first, before the firemen, and climbed to places I could only have reached due to my young dare-devilish spirit." Since then, he has not stopped looking for the special moment, "the one giving an idea of the passing of time, not the one which freezes time as it has been in photography since its conception."
He achieves this in the following feature on Santiago de Cuba during the Fiesta del Fuego (the Fire Festival) celebrated every year in July. "1 was suffering from conjunctivitis at the time and it bothered me a lot but I just relied on my instinct," said Ferval.
He was able to capture the dancers, musicians, colours, rhythm, and all the energy of this Caribbean celebration in the most Caribbean of all Cuban cities. Artists and participants from more than ten countries take part in this festival. Let's take a look.