Cuba : part 4 ‘ Mis Compañeros Fotógrafos ‘

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When one travels much of your experience depends on who you are with. When you travel with a group and you don’t know a soul it can be a crapshoot, the people you are with can make or break what you see and feel. Upon arriving in Miami I could feel the tension in my body building, the unknown was at hand. I tried not to perceive anything, I wanted to look forward and not mar my perception. At 6pm we met in the lobby and I immediately knew it would be OK, this was a great group!

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On a couple of afternoons we had ‘crit time’, a critique of our photos. Our leaders and mentors were kind but direct, their suggestions could take a photograph from good to great. Focusing on the ‘main event’ is what sticks in my mind.

Everyone seemed to have at least one winner, one photo better than the others, the best B&W, the best morning shot, the best facial shot etc…   There were four of us who liked to shoot at the same pace and we would photograph together when free time was available. Our game, our challenge, was to try to out do the one with the best shot, in this case it was the ‘puddle’ shot. Did the Cubans think we were nuts? probably.

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El Capitolio:  Prior to the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban Congress was housed in this building. When the Communist Regime abolished and disbanded the Congress in 1959, the building lost its purpose as the House of the People. El Capitolio is a replica of the United States Capitol.

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The four of us would wander off the beaten path into areas where tourists typically would not veer. It was another hard look at the other side of paradise. You would think that we felt out of place, or even intimidated, but we didn’t.  A simple ‘hola’ and a smile made it all OK, and it was returned as graciously as it was given.

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What makes a country great?  I guess everyone has there own idea, it could be the food, the landscapes, the water… well, in my book it’s the people. I cannot get a feel for a place, a country, if I don’t interact with the locals. If I haven’t portrayed to you in my past three posts on Cuba, then I gotta tell you now… I love the people of Cuba, they are victims with pride. With all that these stifled and neglected people have been thru you would have thought that their bitterness would have shown through. Quite the contrary.

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I realize I was going to write this post on Cienfuegos and Trinidad, but I wasn’t ready to leave Habana. I am now writing for myself, I don’t want to lose what I felt, and still feel.

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As we were ready to board our bus, leaving Habana behind, I met this woman. This gal was one of maybe three Cubans that ‘asked’ me for money, it was rare.  I found her adorable and held a broken but delightful conversation with her. I gave her one CUC then she told me her baby needed clothes.  We both giggled at that comment, then she raised her hand over her head and said, ” my baby.”  I gave her a hug and a kiss, and another CUC.  

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Adios por ahora hermosa Habana !

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… to be continued.

  

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7 thoughts on “Cuba : part 4 ‘ Mis Compañeros Fotógrafos ‘

  1. Such breath-taking images! The love of the people is very evident in the shots of their faces, their postures, their few possessions.
    Great job, girlfriend! I hope you will get to be with these people again soon.

  2. I am taking pause with your puddle reflection images. Your shots are just as intense and emotional upside down reflected on water as they are right side up with no water filter. Sounds like the kind of people I choose to be around.

  3. I just love the legs and shoes. I think it’s my favorite of all of your photos. Like those shoes are treasure to the unknown person holding them.
    What a great experience. Thanks for sharing it!!

  4. I agree with Margaret, I love the legs and the shoes! The last photo of the “Gal” captures the spirit of the people you have introduced us to through your magic lens ! Thank you for sharing your incredible experience, more please!

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