Cuba life through a different lens

Posted: 14-Jul-16 14:38

With the eyes of the world on Cuba in 2016, photographer Adrian Morris found himself in Havana during a critical period in the country's history recently and used his time to document a personal slant on day-to-day life on the island. Sharing his pictures in a blog for HuckMagazine.com, Morris found that beneath the holiday brochure images, there remains a culture that's uniquely unspoilt.

Cuba life through a different lens

Following the historic visit of US President Barack Obama and a general relaxation of the trade and travel laws between the country and America, Cuba is about to enter something of a transitional phase. With no one really sure what kind of experience will remain for visitors after this period of change is over, photographer Adrian Morris recently visited the island to see what he could find out.

Recounting his experience in a photo blog for HuckMagazine.com, Morris explained that what he found in Havana was a culture that remains uniquely unspoilt and preserved and a people that are both beautiful and welcoming. True, these are uncertain times for the island nation, but from what Morris saw on his travels, the spirit of the Cuban people will be in no way affected by the upheaval.

Morris told Huck Magazine:

“I think everyone is interested to see how Cuba is preparing for these changes [and] I wanted to go and experience the country before it changes forever; while it is still the way it is. Being in a country where everyone is so kind and happy, regardless of what amount of money they have or possessions they own is a very humbling and fulfilling experience.”

Have Camera, Will Travel

With Morris’ time in the country being spent on the suburban streets searching for interesting stories – walking, as he put it “as much as my feet would let me around” – the photographer was able to lift the lid on another side of Cuban life that went beyond the typical images of vintage cars, cigars and rumba music to unveil a people who remain unbowed in the face of economic change.

Morris explained:

"Being in Cuba is like having a breath of fresh air. Seeing the way their culture is makes you reflect on your own priorities and worries. I met this one old lady on the street, she looked so interesting, with large uneven glasses. I spoke to her about the neighbourhood and asked if I could take her picture. She was really confused and kept asking why I wanted a picture of her, so I said ‘because you are beautiful’ and her face beamed like the sun as she kissed me on each cheek.”

Of course, while Morris’ account of the country is likely to strike a chord with anyone thinking of visiting the island this year, a picture is worth a thousand words – and you can find a vast selection of photos depicting authentic Cuba and its communities from the capital to the countryside in the photographer’s recent Huck Magazine blog or on his personal website, www.thisismowgli.com.

And Morris is not the only one to have recently captured Cuba´s authentic beauty through the camera lens. A while back, Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaisa became the first person to be able to take truly spectacular aerial photos of the island, a select collection of which were published in a book entitled Unseen Cuba, comprising 400 stunning images showing Cuba´s unique diversity and beauty.

In more recent months, New York photographer, Omar Robles, took extraordinary photographs of Cuba's elite dancers striking an artistic pose against urban settings. From majestic leaps into the air in potholed streets to dramatic dancing in motion under the rain – it all portrayed Cuba's most photogenic cityscapes, with backgrounds that included abandoned theatres and streets in some of the capital´s humblest neighbourhoods.

Oh, and the urban landscapes are not Cuba´s only photogenic draw, there´s also the beautifully preserved classic cars, a collection of which was also captured in yet another photobook titled “Carros de Cuba” (Cars of Cuba), this time by Spanish photographer Piotr Degler. Only time will tell how many more photographers will fall for the charms of dazzling, puzzling Cuba.


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