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The University of Alabama

UA’s Cooper to Participate in Miami Book Fair with Prominent Photographer

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Photographer Chip Cooper, a faculty member in The University of Alabama’s College of Arts and Sciences and artist-in-residence in UA’s Honors College, will participate in the Miami Book Fair International this month alongside Brian Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer noted for photographing celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Sarah Jessica Parker and George Clooney.

The Miami Book Fair International was founded in 1984 by Miami Dade College and is recognized as one of the nation’s largest literary festivals. During Street Fair weekend Nov. 16-18, more than 250 publishers and booksellers will exhibit and sell books.

On Nov. 18, Cooper will promote his book “Old Havana/La Habana Vieja,” which chronicles his collaboration with Cuban photographer Néstor Martí as part of the Alabama Cuba Initiative.

The book, which was produced by the University of Alabama Press, presents 200 pages of photographs of the people and places of Havana. The two photographers have been collaborating since 2008 to produce a body of photographs that capture the spirit of the city and its people during a pivotal time in Cuba’s development.

Their project originated with a request from Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, Havana’s historian and the director of the Old Havana restoration project. During a recent trip to Cuba, Cooper and Dr. Robert Olin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, presented a copy of the book to Spengler at the University of San Gerónimo.

Inspired by the work of 20th century American photographer Walker Evans, Cooper and Martí photographed the city side by side, each of them highlighting the spirit of change and renewal underlying the restoration of Havana.

The work has received positive reviews from Daniel Menaker, former editor of The New Yorker and former executive editor-in-chief of Random House: “Cooper and Martí, united in and inspired by their admiration for the great American photographer Walker Evans, are wonderfully complementary masters of their art. Their photographs—vibrant, respectful, witty and sometimes truly epic in their vision, along with the accompanying texts—create a kind of imagistic dialogue.

“The result is a moving panorama of past and present, generality and specificity, the stillness of stone, the drama of the sea, the vividness of the human presence and present in a place saturated by the past. It’s a really spectacularly beautiful and sophisticated book.”

Cooper was photography director in UA’s Office of University Relations for 33 years before his current appointments with The University of Alabama.

He has published several books, including “Hunting: The Southern Tradition,” “Alabama Memories,” “Silent in the Land,” “Common Threads: Photographs and Stories from the South,” “Crimson: The University of Alabama,” and “Charlie Lucas: The Tin Man.”

Cooper won an award of excellence for his book “Silent in the Land” from Communication Arts magazine and is a past recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

The College of Arts and Sciences is the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Kelli Wright, communications specialist, College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-8539,