View Full Version : Cuba

Colin Corneau
7-Jan-2008, 21:19

I'm going to Cuba for just one week (alas) in late February.

I'd like to shoot 4x5 with my new Shen Hao, as well as some 35mm (either digital or B&W film).

Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of tourist resorts, McHolidays or anything like that...instead, I'd like to portray real places, real people.

Any suggestions of places to go or must-see things would be greatly appreciated - I've never been there previously.

Many thanks

Eric Rose
8-Jan-2008, 09:14
Where are you based? Do you speak Spanish?

Colin Corneau
8-Jan-2008, 17:40
I'm afraid my Spanish is limited to what I can remember from a Lonely Planet book (or what I can finagle in terms of a driver/fixer)...staying in Veradero but would like to focus on Havana - it's not a long journey by either cab or bus.

Eric Rose
9-Jan-2008, 09:11
Without Spanish your adventures will be limited somewhat. Havana is a wonderful town. Try and get a driver that speaks good English and negotiate a day rate with him. He will take you to the non tourist areas with the best photo ops and will pave the way for you with the people. Cubans are very friendly and love to have a good time.

Good luck and make sure you leave time to just kick back on someones doorstep and have a Cuba Libre.

9-Jan-2008, 10:04
I suggest you take pictures contempoary Cuba. I think there are enough wistful shots of old American cars and crumbling Old Havana mansions taken under dolorous lighting conditions.

Colin Corneau
10-Jan-2008, 20:44
I agree, Toyon...I'm not going to re-define or do anything new in just one week, with limited language, contacts and time. Humility is a good thing!

However, given a few days in a well-chosen locale using what I've learned by my travel and work experience, I think I can make some solid images...and yes, there will definitely be a cool beverage or two in there as well.

Asher Kelman
11-Jan-2008, 03:39
I suggest you take pictures contempoary Cuba. I think there are enough wistful shots of old American cars and crumbling Old Havana mansions taken under dolorous lighting conditions.

Well Toyon,

I'd agree with you if I was to give an immediate answer as your thoughts seem right. It does get tiresome perhaps to see repeats of what one has seen before.

However, I remember that famous Republican Spiro Agnew (a guy who as U.S, Vice-President is said to have required bribes in a coffee can on his desk)

If you have seen one city slum you have seen them all.

My son was recently in Cuba and travelled all over, making friends with young people and being taken to rich villas and the dirt poor. To not show the poor and the decayed is to lie. Yes, Cuba does have modern buildings to show off. However, the cities are stopped in time of 50 years ago. I know it may not be particularly politically correct, but it does no service to the people of Cuba to edit out the majority of the country in order to be P.C.

What is there is a great people and a wish for better times and a pent up desire to have the opportunities we have. I'm not advocating Capitalism, just recognizing poverty. There are many wonderful scenes with old cars in the decaying streets, rusting doorways, music in clubs that echo brighter times long ago, but there are children there and old men playing chess and young eager to learn about the rest of the world and how they might join them in prosperity.

So, Colin, I would not turn my back on the poor and old and decayed, since that would exclude 70% of Cuba! If one gets tired of such humanity then how could one be a policeman or a nurse and ever be willing to listen to the story of a girl, raped, if you already heard out such victims 200 times before. What counts is that each of us is worthy of our attention. The best people photographers will already know that. Just add skill, and there's a prize waiting!

At the very least, we must give witness and listen. Out of that will come the great photos. Dorothy Lange would not have gone for the modern buildings, I'm sure!