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The beauty of Cuba lies not in its beaches, its all-inclusive resorts, nor in its colonial architecture. No, the beauty of Cuba is its people. Click on any image for a larger view
If you travel outside of the typical resorts, you will find a vibrant culture – a cultural mix primarily of Spanish and African. The Cubans love their music. It’s upbeat, it’s loud and it’s everywhere. They love to dance and they move with a sensual rhythm, that at times borders on …well I think you understand. Walk around Havana and you can not escape the Latin beat, the music is everywhere. Radios loudly playing a Rhumba or Afro-Latino jazz. You’ll hear the music at 6:00 in the morning and it’s still playing at midnight, just as loud.
You wonder where they get their energy, their passion. Life is not easy for the average Cuban. In fact it’s very difficult. But they never lose their passion for life, for their music and their one other passion BASEBALL. It’s their national sport and it truly is a passion. You see kids playing baseball on every street. They have very little in the way of equipment but that doesn’t matter. If they have a stick and a bottle cap, a baseball game will break out. The Cubans will fill a 5,000 seat stadium to watch a couple of local teams play each other. This blog will be about the people of Cuba told through images rather than words.
Eight photographers boarded a plane in Toronto. I was lucky enough to be one of them. Our destination Havana. Our mission to capture images of Cuban life. Juris Kornets a professional photographer from Toronto, whose talent in street photography is exceptional would meet us in Havana and over the next 10 days be our mentor. He would also critique our results daily, a job he was able to accomplish without damaging too many egos. Not an easy task.
Because of Juris’s contacts, we were able to gain access to areas that would be impossible without him. This opened up a window into the daily Cuban life that as a tourist you would most likely not see or would most certainly try to overlook.
We didn’t spend all 10 days in Havana. There was enough time to visit several locations in more rural areas such as Vinales, a valley surrounded by mountains about 6 hours from Havana. This is tobacco country.
After a couple of days in Vinales, it was on to Trinidad a colonial town with some of its most beautiful colonial architecture still intact. Spending time on a cattle ranch outside of Trinidad allowed us to capture some great images of that way of life. Not much different than going back in time to the late 1800’s in the old west. We visited with the people who live in both areas and captured images of their life, a very different life from the one in we saw in Havana.
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