In places like Old Havana and Trinidad there are swathes of tourists milling through the streets, taking pictures of everything from the neoclassical architecture and vintage American cars to the open air markets and the Cubans working them.
Cuban life lends itself well to the eager camera, as so much activity takes place in public spaces. Even to get on the internet you have to go to the park! And homes often open up directly onto the pavement, giving passers-by a glimpse into what would traditionally be a very private place.
Surrounded by so much life, I found myself slipping into the misconception that I was getting to know something real, concrete, about the place, only to be repeatedly proven wrong as each new interaction offered up a contradictory perspective. Cuba is a place of paradoxes: of socialism, yet a thriving informal economy; free healthcare and education, yet a minimum wage of only 20 Euros a month; a society based on revolutionary politics, yet with news outlets carefully managed by the government.
I felt these contradictions manifested in the very essence of the place, including in the people I interacted with. Despite their friendliness and their “public” lives, I couldn’t help but feel that there were hidden secrets stowed away, that as a visitor I was not privy to — things that aren’t said, but are known and felt by those who live in any one particular place. In this series, I try to capture glimpses of that elusive private world while maintaining a respectful distance, honoring the fact that these secretes are not meant for me or any other visitor.
Special Thanks to Frances Chung.
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In 2016 I served as lead photographer on a photoshoot for Avia, and have past done promotional shoots for nature oriented businesses. Click here to see more