100 Meters

This is a typical series of images that can be made while walking one hundred meters, on one street, in one city.
Trinidad, Cuba.

An old truck rendered with HDR processing.

A portrait.

Old folks sitting in their doorways.

Images of children at play showing off for the camera.
I can practice it all in one short walk.

Fine art

Portraiture

Photojournalism

For a versatile photographer like myself, it doesn’t get any better.

 

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Tomas

Tomas and his wife Regla have been together for 25 years. They live in Trinidad, Cuba, up on the hill, on  the outskirts of town. They have a five-year old daughter and a twenty year old son. I became friends
with this family three years ago. Regla speaks just enough English to work for a couple of restaurants. She greets tourists in the town squares and tries to steer them to “her” restaurants, for which she
receives a small commission. Regla can also access the restaurant’s e-mail about once a week and we are able to stay in touch. Tomas can no longer work.

Tomas is going blind.

As near as we can tell, it’s glaucoma. He has sought treatment for  some time, but there are no qualified doctors for Cuban citizens in Trinidad. After months of petitioning the government, he has been given permission to travel to Havana on 16 February to see a specialist. Cuban citizens do not enjoy the freedom to travel. They must have the proper papers.
Tomas and Regla must pay for the eight-hour round-trip bus ride,  pay for lodging, and find someone to watch their young daughter who will stay behind. I doubt that either one of them have ever been to Havana. It’s a big city and Trinidad is very small and rural. Their fears must be overwhelming, but its the only hope Tomas has.

Regla confided that they could not afford a good shirt for Tomas to wear. On our last day in Trinidad, we delivered two new shirts and some money. Tomas hugged us all so tightly that no words were necessary.

 

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Tomas

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Holding a photo from the previous year.

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This is a digital mapping of Tomas’ eyesight.

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Passing Pesos

I’m always watching for interaction between people when I’m “street shooting”. It’s a lot easier and a lot more fun to do in Cuba.

Easier because the Cubans are friendly and a lot more fun because, well, it’s Cuba.

 

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Processed with Topaz Impressions and Nik Software in PS CS6.

 

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Original version.

Repairs

Cubans are masters of making do with what they have and re-purposing anything of value. When a vehicle breaks down, it’s not uncommon to find Cubans repairing pedicabs, cars, and even buses right in the street. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tow truck in Cuba.

 

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Berta

She is old, frail and dark-skinned. She is from Antigua and speaks English. She tells me this is why she’s discriminated against.

She’s been imprisoned four times for talking too much to tourists and speaking out against the government.

Berta’s fourth floor apartment, four blocks from the Capitolio is now off-limits. The building has been condemned. The gas and electricity have been cut off and everyone made to leave. But there is nowhere to go. There are no vacancies so Berta and her thirty-something year old son wait until after dark and sneak back in to the building.

She cooks eggs on a single open flame made by dipping pieces of rags in fuel oil.

She’s tired of eating eggs, but Berta claims that the government poisons the other food.

Her words: “If you don’t eat enough, you get weak. If you eat more, you get sick. This is how they control you.”

For what its worth, Berta says that Cuba will never change. There are too many in power and the rest do not have the will to fight. They are too afraid.

How did I meet this woman and her son?

I was feeling very guilty for having a rich meal with our group on the better side of Havana.  After our late return to the hotel I went across the street to sit in the park, unwind, and think about the poor Cubans I had met earlier that day.

After only a few minutes, this woman and her son appeared out of the dark and walked directly to the adjacent bench, sat down and started talking to me in English. How did she know I would understand her? How did she know I would listen?  How did she know I would care?

As she left, she asked for no money, only prayers.

How did she know I would pray for her?