Daily Inspiration #437 by Howard Shooter

Hi Steve

I just returned from a wonderful trip to Havana, Cuba with my wife for a special 5 days. I’ve been using the Leica M240 with a 50mm Summilux for a short time but this was the first real test of this combo. I used a couple of the film packs (1 and 2), from VSCO and I think they are exceptionally good. I especially like the silver gelatin feel of the Ilford tri x 400 ++.

I took a lot of images of cuban life, architecture, cars etc but was continually drawn to the faces and people on the street.

My wife and I both agreed that we have never felt safer in any city in the world. The approachability and friendliness are a credit to the Cuban people. People are just enjoying there lives in a rewarding and open way. It’s a fantastic place to visit as a photographer before the expected changes take place politically.

Hope you like the shots,

best

Howard Shooter – My website is HERE

Cigar Man

Cab driver

Woman Red Hair

14 Comments

  1. The recurring theme of Havana and Cuba as an ‘easy’ photo subject becomes hard to tease away from the politics. Its decrepitude and poverty, the pathos of the faces living in this paean to Socialist/Mexist/Statist nihilism frozen in penury by self-servinng tyrants and their enablers in the West, IS the subject. Broken people hopelessly improsoned in a corrupt, collapsed society. The less it is glorified (especially with the iconic Leica image of the merciless butcher Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, for example), the sooner it will find a way out.

  2. I love and enjoyed your photos as they have a honest and personal appeal them. Based on your commentary, I can see why folks like you would be welcome anywhere in the world.
    Regards,
    Howard
    PS I always wondered what the Leica look was. I think your photos captured that uniqueness.

  3. Thanks Steve for posting! Thanks for your comments. I know that Cuba is a political melting pot but in Havana the people were wonderfully friendly. There is a target the tourist element when you first leave your hotel, like many places, but as soon as they recognise you, they leave you alone immediately. We went to a lot of non tourist places with our fantastic guide, who took us to Cuban only markets, residential areas etc and the “normal” people were very warm. Whether you agree with the politics or not, the people we met were happy with there simplified life, e.g. very few mobile phones, hardly any TV, no racism, no knives or other weapons. Not perfect by any means, they have real longer term problems, but they seemed happy to us. The shots aren’t meant to be political… as a photographer, it doesn’t get much better than Havana. Thanks for looking. Howard

  4. Yep…People just enjoying their lives in a totalitarian dictatorship which imprisons its opposition, controls every aspect of life, and looks like it is frozen in time in the 50’s? Yep, just a wonderful place. On a lighter note, love the portrait of the gentleman with the cigar. And the pain in the woman’s eyes is haunting. I like the saturation levels.

    • You have not been to Cuba, have you. People are enjoying their lives despite the unfriendly political climate and economic hardships, this is an impression every Cuba traveler comes back with and one feels a little humbled when considering our Western worlds “problems”. The daily struggles do not hold Cuban people back from being positive and embracing life whilst we debate whether camera X or Y are superior and our next buy. Last time I was in Havana was two years ago and I highly recommend it.

      • Cuba may not be perfect but ask Trayvon Martin about the wonders of life in the world’s greatest democracy.
        I was in Cuba two years and the people were great, maybe it just depends on the attitude you take with you. It always pays to remember the world is more than just a photo opportunity laid on for your benefit.

  5. I’ve been to Cuba and I doubt very much if I’d go back.

    We had so much trouble with begging and being hassled that it spoiled any trips out.

    Going out without the wife was a bit easier and the people were friendlier but even then I felt that they
    were only being friendly so you may give a dollar.

    Other people I know have said the same thing as me, but they did enjoy Havana, which we did not go. I can only assume that Havana is very touristy and they are a bit easier on the trippers.

    I like the two photographs and I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.

    It’s not an easy place to live because of the communist regime so maybe not the fault of the people – they are very poor.

  6. very nice potraits Howard!!!Hope the BW can be put more contrast, to get the details out….that just my opinion.

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