Manny Iriarte brings a completely new expression to the meaning of photography. His art in photography reflects his optimistic faith in the world around him. He has been fascinated with photography from his early adolescent years. A self-taught artist from the city of Santa Clara in Cuba, Manny began his photography career on the island shooting birthday parties to earn some money to provide for his family. In addition to his passion for photography, Manny was a swimmer on the Cuban National Team participating and succeeding in numerous international competitions. Upon graduating from the Universidad del Deporte in 1993, Manny gave himself almost exclusively to the art of photography.
But living in Cuba under the oppressive Castro regime made it more than difficult to follow his passion. You can’t just go to the nearest photography supply store and buy a camera or film for that matter; it doesn’t work that way in a Socialist system. It took the goodwill of a Spanish tourist who eventually became a lifelong friend that Manny was able to carry out his dream. His friend gifted him an Olympus OM-10 from 1973. It was the turning point in Manny’s nascent photography career.
After the constant hardships and struggles of living in Cuba, Manny made the most difficult decision of his life, to flee his homeland at the age of thirty and come to the United States. Leaving his family behind, he had one goal, to pursue and achieve the American Dream. He began working as a Physical Education teacher in Miami, Florida after passing the state education certification exams. He is and always will be grateful to this country for the abundant freedoms and opportunities. Never forgetting his responsibility, he had to maintain his family in Cuba; he focused on working hard and providing his family with food and clothing. After several years of teaching, Manny built up enough of a foundation that he was able to return to his one true passion. In 2004 his vision came to life.
With no formal training or education, the art in photography and design is an emotion and inspirational gift that has always been part of Manny Iriarte. For him everything in life is seen through the prism of photography and it didn’t take long for his photographic eye to focus in on the beauty of cigars. Applying his passion in photography to his love of cigars has given Manny the unique opportunity to combine his passion, his culture, and his creativity and the results have been recognized throughout the world. His work has been featured in national and international publications, it is hanging on the walls of some of the most luxurious cigar lounges throughout the world, and it has captured the imagination of the cigar world. He has worked with over 40 cigar companies as an image consultant, photographer, and designer. Manny has done the product photography, logo design, brochure layout design, and trade show exhibit designs for some of the most important cigar brands in the market today.
At the moment Manny Iriarte’s work is being sought after beyond just the cigar world. He has designed exclusive jewelry products, album packaging for the music industry and luxury men’s apparel. All culminating in a series of projects for a famed Swiss watchmaker that has taken the watch design world by storm.
Manny Iriarte’s career has taken him and his art all over the world and if history is any indication, he’s just getting started.