Wednesday, October 27, 2010

'Life' magazine photos by Mark Kauffman show shanty town in shadows of El Gran Stadium

One of an amazing series of 1950s Mark Kauffman photos from the Life magazine archives on Google. This and other photos depict a "shanty town" in the shadows of the left-field stands of El Gran Estadio de la Habana.

The stadium also was referred to as El Estadio del Cerro, for the working-class barrio del Cerro where the stadium stood. But given the conditions they appear to have lived in, these people could only hope to be "working class."

When I first saw the photos, all I could wonder was how -- if at all -- did Life put them into context with whatever pictorial it ran on Cuban baseball; so many of Kauffman's other photos from that shoot depict the festive atmosphere in the stadium.

My father, who would have been in his early teens at the time these photos appear to have been taken, said he had no idea such a scene ever existed outside the stadium.

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