The Intercoiffure America/Canada (ICA) Spring Atelier, to be held next weekend in Boca Raton, Florida, is not just the setting for the 2 day symposium, it is also the venue for the release of finishes from the recent ICA photoshoot held in CUBA.
MODERN was given a preview of the images and is sharing here along with the details for this amazing and impressive shoot - all from the official press release:
When Intercoiffure America/Canada (ICA) brought down the house with a Cuba-infused celebration of the art of hairstyling at the Fall 2015 Atelier in New York City last October, it was a signal of much bigger things to come for the relationship between ICA and the island nation located just 90 miles south of Key West, Fla.
For five days in February, ICA members showcased their talents in a lush photo shoot featuring gorgeous models set against beautiful backdrops in Havana, Cuba's capital and one of the world's great romantic cities.
"Cuba was off the hook," says Frank Gambuzza, president of ICA and co-owner of The Visage Group in Knoxville, Tenn. "Our trip was an amazing cultural exchange and a humanitarian mission at the same time."
When not doing work for the photo shoot, ICA members distributed soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, toilet paper and tennis balls for children. "We brought so much stuff, things the people there just don't have good access to," says Shirley Gordon, owner of Strands Hair Studio in Wheaton, Md., who served as the lead hairstylist for the photo shoot.
Since the trip, Sherri Jessee, owner of Sherri's Hair Salon in Bristol, Va., makeup artist for the shoot, has sent makeup palettes and organizers to the people she met.
A place called Arte Corte in Old Havana served as ICA's headquarters for the photo shoot. Owned by 46-year-old Gilberto Valladares Reina, nicknamed Papito, Arte Corte is something of an economic engine and cultural center that includes a salon, barber school and a museum that showcases both art and hairdressing. Papito also owns Figaro, a nearby restaurant that kept everyone well fed during the shoot. He is working with the Cuban government to bring life and opportunity back to his neighborhood and the surrounding area.
"Papito is singlehandedly restoring part of the city. He trains underprivileged and deaf children in the art of hairdressing. He is a powerhouse," Gambuzza says. "Here he is on a small island doing big things and here I am from a large island doing small things. It was very humbling to see all that Papito is doing."
Gambuzza presented Papito with the ICA Difference Maker Award during their stay, in recognition of work that is having a global impact. Gambuzza also contributed a pair of his shears to a 100-foot scissor sculpture comprised of more than 2,500 pairs of scissors that Papito is creating in a neighborhood park.
The ICA team worked closely with the Cuban government to execute the photo shoot. Government officials helped recruit models for the shoot, and may have done their job a little too well as ICA needed 17 models but had 55 show up for the model call. "Every one of them was gorgeous and every one of them was tall," says Gordon, "Ultimately, we chose our models using a lottery system."
All of the models saw the opportunity the photo shoot presented. "To those models this was an opportunity of a lifetime," says Belinda Gambuzza, co-owner of The Visage Group and director of color education for ICA. "They were so excited because they were having their photos taken by Americans." For the models, the shoot became a family affair as well. "They would come out with their mothers and grandmothers," he says.
Frank Gambuzza tells the story of a grandmother who took him aside to thank him for giving her granddaughter the opportunity to be part of the photo shoot. "'For the first 19 years of her life she's been blinded by one way of seeing the world," Gambuzza says the woman told him. "'After being with you, she has another perspective on the world.' Here's a woman who lived through the [Castro] revolution and understands her granddaughter can see the world in a different way. It was remarkable to think of the impact this photo shoot will have on these young people."
The photo shoot captured the juxtaposition of beautiful people and their culture against the backdrop of the aging edifice of a nation stuck in time since the United States closed its embassy and severed diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1961. "Havana had this almost apocalyptic beauty," says Jeffrey LaMorte, owner of Jeffrey LaMorte Salons in Chicago and a hairdresser for the photo shoot. "You could see that time had nearly stopped [after the revolution]." Still, the artistic soul of the city is alive and vibrant.
"If you're an artist of any kind, you must visit Cuba," Gordon says. "There is so much color you could paint for days. If you're a colorist, you can get so much inspiration just from looking around you."
The impact of this trip will be felt for a long time to come, and there are amazing and heartbreaking stories to tell.
"I was outside Arte Corte and had done a couple of haircuts," LaMorte says. "The girl who handled all the jewelry for the photo shoot asked if I would cut the hair of a friend. This friend happened to be a popular Cuban TV personality." She was a news anchor who had not gotten her hair cut in more than two-and-a-half years. "That really hit me. We take so much for granted here, but they really did not take anything for granted," LaMorte says. "They could definitely use some of the resources we have access to."
Everyone the ICA team encountered, from government officials to hairdressers to models was warm, engaging and passionate about their work and their country. "They were all vibrant, happy and excited to see us," Gambuzza said. "This trip left an indelible mark on the lives of everyone involved. I look forward to going back to Cuba."
The images will be presented to the ICA members next weekend. Review.Renew.Reset is the theme of this 2 day symposium with a program chock full of education and inspiration including presentations by Kelly Ehlers for Wella, Ted Gibson & Jason Backe for L'Oreal Professionnel, George Papanikolas & Jenifer Yepes for Suretint, Allyson King for Goldwell, Robert Heim for Hairdresam, Jordan Alexander & Bianca Hillier for Olaplex and David Kinigson for Artego. There are business building classes and hands-on classes all balanced with fun and networking.
While the meeting is a member-only event, the MODERN audience gets a chance here to preview the finishes and some of the "behind the scenes" shots from the Cuban shoot. Enjoy!
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