Unseen Cuba revealed in first aerial photos

Posted: 22-May-15 09:17

The first ever aerial photographs of Cuba have emerged in a new book covering the Caribbean island's iconic cityscapes and natural beauty. The recently-published collection entitled Unseen Cuba is the work of Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaiša, who spent five years capturing the country from above using an ultra-microlight plane.

Unseen Cuba revealed in first aerial photos

From Havana's iconic buildings and Trinidad's time-warp colonial cityscape to the idyllic tropical shores of the northern cayes and the vertiginous mountains of the east, the first aerial views of Cuba have been captured on camera by Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaiša. Published in a new book entitled Unseen Cuba, the 400 dramatic images reveal a land of stunning natural beauty and diversity.

The collection of photographs was more than five years in the making as Jovaiša battled to gain permission to fly over the country in an ultra-microlight plane. He is the first artist ever granted a permit to take photos from the air. The result of his project is a coffee table book and accompanying phone app giving a glimpse of never-seen-before Cuba – beautiful coastlines, cities, agricultural land and landmarks all shot from above.

Jovaiša told IB Times UK:

"Nobody had been able to take aerial pictures of the country because of the secretive political regime and technical difficulties. I thought it would be awesome to try to become the first man on the planet who could convince the Cuban government to give permission for such an endeavour."

After he gained government permission, it took Jovaisa a further two years to complete his book. A series of setbacks, including difficulties finding a viable plane and a pilot, added extra time to the project. He explained that to get the most evocative images, he also had to carefully time his flights to coincide with soft light. Marius explained:

"My style of photography requires mild, yellowish or reddish early morning or late evening light that can be found in Cuba's latitudes about one hour after sunrise and hour before sunset.

"Later, the sun is too high, too harsh, the shadows disappear, and everything looks like a map or an image from Google Earth. In my opinion, such images have little artistic value and are more a type of technical illustration."

He began photographing Cuba from his base in Varadero and travelled east along the coast to capture images of Cuba's stunning coral cayes, including the Jardines del Rey archipelago, popular for its white powdery beaches and turquoise waters. Jovaiša also documented the central Cuban towns of Unesco-listed Trinidad and Remedios from the air before reaching El Yunque – Cuba's Table Mountain – a favoured hiking destination that overlooks the little far-eastern city of Baracoa.

After doubling back to cover south-east Cuba's fertile Granma province and the Caribbean country's highest peak, the photographer concentrated on Cuba's magnificent capital, snapping the wider cityscape and iconic buildings such as the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba and Morro Castle. From Havana, Jovaiša completed his mission by heading west to picture the Unesco World Heritage site of Vinales Valley resulting in some of the most striking images of the collection.

The book is one of a series of aerial photography collections put together by Jovaiša. He has also published photo books covering Belize, Mexico and Lithuania via his publishing and marketing company Unseen Pictures. For more information and to order a copy of the book, please visit: www.unseencuba.com


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