Rafael de la Uz is a photographer and filmmaker, with more than twenty years of experience in the profession. Born in Cuba, Rafael began his work behind the cameras in his hometown, Havana, where he worked as a press and advertising photographer as well as a Cinematographer on various documentary films. In 2001 Rafael moved to the United States, and since then he has worked on projects for HBO, PBS, NYT, Discovery, TVE, and the BBC. His latest photographic work is a small portrait of the community of set netters in South Naknek, Bristol Bay, which was published by Fern magazine last fall.
Exhibit Description: Homer`s Nutcracker is a photographic exhibit that tells the story of Homer’s town staging The Nutcracker, in the midst of a pandemic. The intention of this exhibit is to show the level of effort, work, and dedication that the community invests in this ballet work. There is nothing unique about a small town that each year hosts a big event, it happens all over the country, and it is usually done with the intention of attracting tourists, however, at Homer, The Nutcracker it is a gift from the children, parents, and volunteers for the local inhabitants, who every year, for the last 33 years, come to the local theater to enjoy this ballet.
The young dancers, choreographers, and technicians do not disappoint their audiences. The child dancers may not be technically perfect, but they show up every day to give everything they have to the choreographers. The production may not have the budgets of professional theater, but that does not prevent that with typical Alaskan ingenuity a balcony gets built in an hour and that the decorations are hand-painted and spectacular. There might be a lighting error during the play, but the teens in charge of the work behind the curtains run like crazy to ensure each prop is ready when needed. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Homer’s children rehearse with masks, maintain a discipline of soldiers to measure their temperature and work to provide their community with several nights of joy and beauty. As the curtain drops and everyone takes their bow, the tiny town of Homer gives them a great applause every night, an applause full of pride and gratitude. In the end, The Nutcracker is everyone’s work.
That spirit is what Rafael’s camera captured. In this exhibit, he documents the efforts of the dancers, parents, staff, and volunteers – their success, their mistakes, their work. This is their story.