Havana, Cuba Wins
Hanging out in Havana, Cuba is getting easier every year.
Rustic, historic, charming and crumbling, Havana is a city of contrast. Take architecture, ranging from every era since Columbus landed over 500 years ago. Streets marching out European colonial, Art Deco and mid-Century modern, deteriorating gracefully as locals eke out a living in a world caught in the past. And then, there is transportation for every speed from horse pulled buggies to “American cars” and variations in between. Vestiges of the flight of owners who did not agree with leftist rhetoric of the mid century coup. And the people, except for the odd hustlers who usually take the first “no” as a definitive answer, Cubans are “mind your business” and “make do” kind of people.
And here lies the contrast. When Cubans have access to colour they apply it with a heavy brush…youth meandering down the Prado (a wide boulevard built in the late 18th C) in sexy, current, bright attire- chatting vigorously, they dress as well as they can. Where paint is desperately lacking in the architecture vivid colour is applied liberally in the recycled cars, the street costume/attire and the street art. And the rest have been making do as best they can. Cubans are the ultimate recyclers. Most travellers expect interesting sites, activities that miles of sandy beaches will satisfy, friendly people, good food (well, 3 out of four isn’t bad). Cuba offers what a lot of developing countries offer but they don’t have …, well, almost all, the cuisine is sketchy. Havana deserves more than a daytrip for those willing to slip down a few side streets, take in live Cuban music at the Café Paris.
The traveler to Havana has something to learn resourceful.
For more on Havana and Cuba, see also:
Photography In Cuba – Perspective
Travel gives a new perspective. Fresh faces, new streets, old folks. One way to take in the new perspective is to vary the perspective physically, up, down and all around. Sometimes, straight on works well too.
Most local folks don’t even notice.
Cuban Faces Let You Know
Cubans, even city folk from Havana, are friendly by nature. Cuban faces soon let you know how welcome you are.
The street photographer usually can depend on the same routine. Not that anything or anyone on the street is ever routine or predictable. A quick exchange, a nod, a response, friendly smiles and presto, a connection is solidified. The dropping of a few CUC’s (“convertible” money/pesos in local parlance) helps. Stating the word “Canada” often instantaneously takes advantage of the warm relations between Cuba and Canada. The ones that never got frosty through the American embargoes and frigid oratory that even the warmest Caribbean breezes could not thaw to rapprochement. There are Cuban faces to capture under hot rod hoods, faces making and smoking cigars, spontaneous conversational encounters (melodious and verbal) and even grannies keeping a vigil on Cuban life streaming by.
The heart of Cuba is its people. You can tell by the faces.
For more on Cuba street activities and places to capture Cuban faces, see also:
Cuba Street Photography – Who Says Tropical Must Be Colorful?
Since the advent of color photography, black and white or monochrome has competed for its place in the “light”. Toning is manipulated as a vehicle to focus on primary subjects and supporting background while keeping the message true. Street photography in Cuba, with the use of anachronistic and historic elements, is a great place to see black and white perform its magic: caught in time, young and old, work and games, fun and hardship, modern and historic, are some of the conflicts that weave together a good yarn of imagery.
Cuba street photography in a kaleidoscope of color or in black and white, which do you prefer?: