Dan Higgins, a professor of Art at the University of Vermont, has been involved with the Burlington/ Puerto Cabezas Sister City Program since its inception. He has made photographs to connect with the social life of Puerto Cabezas, as well as to promote the sister city relationship in Vermont. Presented here are portfolios of his photographs made over the years.


Sister Cities: Side By Side   1987-1988

Burlington, Vermont and Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua

photographs by Dan Higgins

        In 1984 the cities of Burlington, Vermont and Puerto Cabezas on Nicaragua's Atlantic coast entered into a sister city relationship. Mainstream media, with their fixation on images of war, did little to give an understanding of what daily life was like in Burlington's new sister city. By contrast, I have always learned the most about a community by photographing in those ordinary places where people regularly gather: the home, the workplace, the social hall, the school, the church and the marketplace.

        I therefore began the "Sister Cities: Side By Side" project by asking a few very simple questions. If I were to find myself in Puerto Cabezas, where would I go for a cup of coffee, or a haircut, or to find a doctor? What would a classroom look like? A church? The fire department? My plan from the start was to ask the same questions of both Burlington and Puerto Cabezas and to produce a series of photographic pairs revealing equivalent categories of social life in these two communities. My methods involved visiting subjects  prior to photographing them, letting them think about how they might wish to be represented, and giving them the opportunity to choose the location and props we would use in making the picture. If I had already made it I would show them the picture of their "counterpart".

Burlington/ Puerto Cabezas: Sister Cities Side By Side
copies available through the Sister City Program

see more of Dan's Puerto Cabezas photographs:

find out more about Nicaragua's Atlantic coast
return to sister city home page
return to Dan's home page