About the Photographer
Marucha and Mayito
Haya, Maria Eugenia (Cuban, 1941-1991) and García Joya, Mario (Cuban, b. 1938)
During Cuba's Revolution in 1959 the heroic personas of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were established in part thanks to epic-feeling, and now iconic, images made by three photographers: Raúl Corrales, Osvaldo Salas, and Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez (also known as Korda). These men are often viewed as the cornerstones of Cuban photography, although subsequent generations of photographers have made significant contributions as well. As curator Tim Wride describes in the catalogue for the exhibition Shifting Tides: Cuban Photography after the Revolution, which toured to the Museum of Contemporary Photography in 2002, Cuban photographers in the years following the overthrow of the Batista regime effectively shifted the focus away from the Revolution's charismatic leaders, instead situating their work within the context of everday life.
Maria Eugenia Haya and Mario García Joya were among a rising wave of photographers who helped to shape a new iconography in this regard, and their photographs reflected––and arguably bolstered––the new social order after the revolution. In their photographs they centered on ordinary people, such as farm workers, laborers, or men and women in Havana's dancehalls, rather than a few heroic figures. As was a relatively common practice for photographers in Cuba at the time, they both worked under professional names: Marucha and Mayito, respectively.
For much of their careers, Marucha and Mayito worked individually. During a period of notable activity in photojournalism in the 1960s and 1970s, Mayito was a significant figure in the field, contributing frequently to major publications such as Cuba, INRA, and Cuba Internacional, which were modeled in many respects after Life and Look magazines. Marucha herself began as an independent photographer but has come to be known equally as photo historian. In the 1970s, both Mayito and Marucha pursued graduate studies at Havana University. During this time Marucha embarked on a substantial project, beginning with her graduate thesis, to research and outline the specific history of photography in Cuba. Mayito joined her in traveling throughout the country in an effort to track down photographic material. The results of their work culminated in exhibitions and articles on the subject, and Marucha was later involved in the founding of the Fototeca de Cuba, or the Photobank of Cuba.