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Faces of Cuba

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This post is dedicated to the people of Cuba, whose lives I only caught a glimpse of during my travels in the country! This trip took place at the historic time of the passing of Fidel Castro, where I started to develop an amateur interest in portrait photography and capturing the emotions of the people I met there.

Faces of Cuba

This photo was taken on Revolution Square, two days after Fidel Castro passed away, and it was the first day of the rallies. There was a huge gathering of young people here, banners reading ‘Somos Fidel’ (We are Fidel), and chanting and shouting Cuban songs and anthems. Personally for me, getting to grips with photography, it was the first time I was challenged in a very long time on taking photos in a moving, vivid setting. There were journalists and photographers everywhere from all the big publications, because they had just managed to get into the country by this point, and this was I guess the first really public emotion of the day. As mentioned before, Emmanuel, a fantastic photographer who you should all check out and who was teaching me photography on this trip, was lending me his camera and I was just about getting to grips with it and learning how to change the settings, making myself get up close and personal to people to capture their emotions. This young man quickly captured my attention because he was so emotive and full of passion; I wasn’t sure if he was the leader of the group there but he was really a huge source of power and energy. Here’s just one photo of him from the numerous ones I have!

0Y4A3167A gentleman takes time out of his day of work to talk to us, before offering us a tour around his home complete with an espresso shot. We watch from his TV the procession of Fidel Castro’s ashes across the country, which is livestreamed for the entire length of its journey around Cuba for over a week.

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Another photo at Vinales, several hours away from Havana. As soon as I found out about Vinales when I was researching Cuba, I wanted to go. The sounds of the city are instantly forgotten, replaced with the warm hum of a little town. These gentleman take a long time to get this machine up and working but eventually a final yank on the rope and it’s roaring.

0Y4A2034I couldn’t take a candid photo of these children for long, before they straight away struck this pose!

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After an arduous wait for the first newspapers of the day to be printed (the papers were printed in black during the time of the mourning of Castro, instead of the normal red or blue).

0Y4A1808 Revolution Square, Havana. I love capturing subjects from the side profile and, even if they’re posing for another photo (as this girl was), you still capture a different expression to them.

0Y4A0572This is the first pose these children want to take…

0Y4A0568…then they decide they’d rather show us a dance instead that they’ve learned from the scatty limited WiFi access, available only in town squares and city hotels.

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0Y4A3045In the fields of Vinales, we met this lone farmer working, who took the time in his day to talk to us with animated expression about his crops. Although I couldn’t follow the fast slowing Spanish, he said there hadn’t been rain there for months and was concerned about climate change. He had a high opinion on Castro, who he boasted had predicted climate change before it had become as globally known and accepted as it is now!

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0Y4A1394Two girls stand quietly before the rallies take place on Revolution Square.0Y4A0739These guys just wanted to be in on the photo!

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0Y4A0599   Policemen are standing duty the day that Castro died, but are still happy to be part of a photo.

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My first travels took me to Norway, Morocco, the Galapagos Islands, and Siberia. There, I realised there was so much I wanted to learn and understand about the way we interact with nature and the environment in which we live.

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