With its striking colors, vintage cars, decrepit buildings, and interesting people, Cuba is kind of a Nirvana for photographers. In 2017, I had the chance to visit this unusual and fascinating place.
It’s hard to make travel photography unique and captivating. But, man, Cuban street photography gets old pretty quick. Yeah, I thought I had some pretty strong images, but I felt they were derivative and cliche.
My wife and I jumped into a cab, intending to visit Fusterlandia, a mosaic art installation in the outskirts of Havana. My overconfidence in Spanish led us to getting hopelessly lost. I don’t quite remember, maybe we felt like the driver was going around in circles or it seemed we were going further out of our way. Anyway, we wound up getting out of the cab in the neighborhood that had a number of foreign embassies and, surprisingly, some fairly upscale residences that would not be out of place in an American suburb.
We started walking back towards the main part of town. We stumbled on a small park. I noticed a group of young men and soon learned that they were practicing breakdancing.
I spent the next hour shooting their dance moves. A few of the guys spoke a bit of English and I did the best I could to communicate with them with my limited Spanish. When I felt a bit more comfortable, I asked my new friends if I could do their portraits.
I thought the work made sense presented in black and white, diverging from typical Cuban street photography.
We never made it to Fusterlandia.