Today’s photoessay is the first part of my report from the streets of Cuba. I tried to go in with as few preconceptions as possible, to just observe and shoot; there’s a little bit of movement away from the anonymity I’d been pursuing in my previous images. Perhaps it’s because the city itself is not anonymous or uniform or soulless or a cookie-cutter copy of every other first world city; the individuals mattered again – even when they were in groups.
I found the people friendly once you broke through their reserve; a very binary personality. Most of the interesting action happened when they were not consciously posing for the camera – I shot first, was inevitably noticed, spoke to them, and then made the photos they requested – but kept almost none, because they’d lost the natural expression that had attracted me to photograph them in the first place. It almost seemed to me that the unguarded reality was cautious and slightly weary, afraid; but when they were conscious of being observed, a wall of bravado and strained happiness went up. There is a general sense of anticipation and waiting; for change, perhaps. A strange feeling, because I’d always imagined it to be the other way around – strangers only get admitted to true feelings after some time of trust; but why hide happiness behind misery? It still makes no sense to me. MT
A few places left for Making Outstanding Images Chicago (September 2014), Masterclass San Francisco (September 2014). Masterclass Venice (November 2014) now open for booking – click here to book or for more info
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