Category Archives: photographing people

Red and Green, Central Cuba

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In Camagüey, eastern Cuba, they were ‘puttin’ on the ritz’ with fresh coats of paint on a lot of buildings when I was last there. The town, like Trinidad, is a UNESCO world site, and boasts a strong collection of classic Spanish colonial, art deco, neo-colonial, and neoclassical architecture, and like Trinidad, is a historic village for sugar cane production nearby.

As I wandered by this man, I noticed his brilliant red ball cap against the green walls, a harmonious color contrast. That was exciting, and when I realized he was painting, and the light was nice and strong sidelight, I thought this had potential.  I watch for a minute or two, and when he leaned out to paint, I captured the photo just before the roller made contact.

When I wander the streets of any place, be it Cuba or Florence, Italy, I’m looking for stories – and gestures that help to tell the story. In this image, the guy is clearly on  ladder to do some work, but the paint roller is the feature that tells what he’s doing up there, along with the swaths of different paint coats.

Enjoy, and thanks for visiting!

 

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The beauty of Age

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We are having a great time on the photo tour in Morocco. Yesterday, we were driving from Fes to Midelt, and we stopped to walk around a Berber village that is not a traditional tourist stop, which we prefer whenever possible. The Berber people are friendly, and many of them accepted our requests to photograph them. In fact,  I was invited in to see the house of one young woman, who’s mother then wanted to bring me tea and food, a traditional welcoming gesture. It was all around a very pleasant experience for us, and a break from some of the other areas where photographing people is a definite challenge and many photos have to be ‘sneaked’ similar to Cartier Bresson’s method.

 

This beautiful woman was wearing my favorite colors, and the bounce light from the light-colored dirt just behind me made her face glow with warmth. She doesn’t have the traditional Berber tattoo, but I couldn’t ask why since I don’t speak the language! Nonetheless, she was beautiful, her face telling the passage of time with her eyes telling it was a happy life.

We’re on our way to the desert and sand dunes today.

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Even the Pigs Pose in Cuba

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It’s true. Everyone seems to want to be in the photographs we make when we’re in Cuba. Even the pigs. Perhaps they are just as curious about us as we are of them. Just like many of the people. And how long will that last? No one knows, for sure. But if we, as photographers, behave, and photograph everyone and everything with respect, it will last longer than if we just point and shoot and move on. If we can have a dialogue with the people, the true people-to-people exchange that Obama set in motion a while ago, it will help. You might have to do it through your guide/interpreter, if you don’t speak Spanish. But don’t let that deter you.

This farm is a Unesco heritage farm site. We visited on my first trip to Cuba, and subsequent trips thereafter. I have photographed Juana Gamacho, Francisco, their dogs, and now their pig! They welcome us each time, and we come bearing useful gifts – things like sewing kits, pens, batteries, first aid supplies, etc. Maybe that’s why they keep welcoming us, but it’s a win-win. They are truly willing to be photographed and they offer us coffee every time we come.

No matter where you travel, the experience is often made better by the connection you create when you are photographing the people or their homes/farms. We take a genuine interest in how they live; we ask what things are used for; we tell them (and mean it) how special their country is, and how glad we are to be there. We ask them how their crops are doing or did last season. I’m convinced all of that matters, I’ve seen it in the reactions we get on the faces of the people we photograph. Even the pigs smile.

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Himba Culture, Namibia

 

 

We visited two Himba villages on our Namibia Photo Tour. Villages that are not visited by groups very much. We met the Chief in this village, and then were welcomed in to walk around and observe daily life as lived by the Himba. It’s a really interesting experience. It was a very dusty day, so the light was soft and warm as it fell on the women and children; adding that to their ochre-coated bodies, and combined with the sepia and burnt umber tint to most of their clothing, they were a study in earth tones! I’m still working through my pictures from the visit, but when I came across this one I had to post it. With all those fancy hair extensions on the mother, the poor child doesn’t have much room for its head/face when hung on the back of its mother. When it peered out at me, I had the moment I was looking for.

Visits to these villages are a special experience. The people are wonderful – we can’t speak each others’ language, but they know why we are there through our interpreter. We learn how they live, we photograph them doing their daily routines, and we take gifts of flour, corn, coffee, and other things that they need as a thank you for our visit.

We are in the process of setting up next year’s tour. Stay tuned for more information!

 

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