Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Patrick Hemingway shares photos from Cuba

Grandson’s photos tell another Papa story


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

Patrick Hemingway photographed Ernest Hemingway’s bookshelf at his Finca Vigía home in Cuba.

The Hemingway family has several talented members who are working writers and artists but tend to live in the shadow of their famous relative.

Patrick Hemingway, one of Ernest's grandsons, makes his living as a photographer in Vancouver, Canada. He has been working on a book about Ernest's homes, and has traveled several times to Cuba for the project. The book is scheduled to come out in May.

A few of Patrick's images will be featured in a special mini exhibition, "An Intimate View: Selected Images of Ernest Hemingway's Home in Cuba," at the Anne Reed Gallery in Ketchum throughout the weekend of the fourth annual Ernest Hemingway Festival, Thursday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 28.

"I didn't really know what to expect," Patrick Hemingway said about his visit first to Cuba. "To see how popular he was, how many people knew about him from young and old and what a huge draw he is for tourists was very interesting. His house, the Finca Vigía, is the largest tourist attraction in Cuba."

Patrick had his share of government red tape to gain access to Finca Vigía. He found it frustrating to meet with cultural center directors and, ultimately, had to say he was Ernest's grandson to gain entry.

"They granted me access but that was at the beginning of the Finca Vigía restoration and a lot of the rooms were in bad shape," Patrick said. "I wasn't able to see all of the rooms on my first trip, March through April 2005. I went back in 2007 and met with another lady. I was only granted two hours. I showed up early in the morning and the person meeting me was a half-hour late, and I did not have enough time to photograph."

Patrick made another trip in August 2007 for two weeks and went straight to the house, where he made friends with the people working there and was given all the time he needed to properly photograph it.

"In the late '40s and '50s, he became obsessed with his weight, and once a week he wrote his weight down on the bathroom wall," Patrick said. "I have read different people's accounts, and he had lost some of his confidence in the late 1940s."

Patrick's images reveal the bathroom with the scale and weight logs on the walls. The images also show Ernest's office, which has a well-worn animal skin on the floor and a typewriter sitting atop one of his bookshelves, which house Ernest's book collection.

"He was always standing when he was writing," Patrick said. "In Key West and Cuba he preferred to stand from problems he had with his legs from war injuries and that's where the typewriter was."

Patrick has photographed Ernest's home in Ketchum and met two of his friends who are still alive. In addition, he has photographed his birthplace in Oak Park, Ill., and includes images of Ernest's boat, Pilar, because it, too, was one of his homes.

"When I was asked to write for the book, I was really intimidated because I thought I would be compared to Ernest," Patrick said. "There are writers in my family, but I just wrote about my experience in each house."




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