Today’s photoessay is the continuation of the curated collection of people I photographed in Havana – (part I is here) the tricky part was to try to avoid cliches (unsuccessful, I think) but at the same time get a decent representation of activity. I think many of my students did this better – my Asian reserve prevented me from sticking my head into doorways and windows of homes (though that’s different if I’m on assignment) – but beyond that, I prefer to photograph people in a natural state without them being conscious of my presence and changing their behaviour to suit; whatever it was they were doing that was interesting in the first place would almost certainly cease and change.
Sometimes, the most interesting moments are when the subject just realises your presence; there’s this sense of undeveloped potential that could go either way: they might be completely fine with you there and become open and friendly, or get quite aggravated and unhappy. In that small period of time, though they are semi-interacting with the camera, they are not fully conscious of it and it gives us a little more than the directly observable activity – facial expressions and body language offer an unguarded glimpse into an individual’s personality; more so than if they were lost in their own world or consciously putting on a face for the camera.
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