Cuba-Bulgaria, in Layers

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Bulgarians' longing to see lands beyond the closed borders of their country festered during the Communist years. In the corner are a few American dollars on a desk at my parents' college apartment, situated on a street then called The Red Rose. A Sofia store called Korekom that offered a rare glimpse of Western goods - cosmetics, technology, toys, candy, alcohol, cigarettes, and magazines otherwise absent from Bulgaria's isolated economy - motivated a strong black market demand for the U.S. dollar. Possession of it without government permission, however, left one open to investigation, and a marked dossier that sharply diminished employment opportunities - and at worse, led to imprisonment in a forced labor camp. The foreground shows a girl taking orders in a late-night pizza joint with an atmosphere of U.S. nostalgia, playing mostly American music from the 1980s and 1990s, in the port city of Mariel, Cuba in April of 2015. <br />
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I've layered family photos taken in Bulgaria before the fall of the Berlin Wall with pictures I recently shot in Cuba, to reveal the visual and sociopolitical connections between the two. Both portions of this project - in Bulgaria and Cuba - were supported by The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.