Friday, October 26, 2012

Havana Portraits

Sometimes you find a portrait, and sometimes it finds you. While waiting to see if we could get into the Havana Boxing center, I looked across the street and saw a man gesturing to me. He saw that I had a camera and invited me and my friend Nigel to come into his home. He allowed us to photograph his living room and posed proudly in his chair in front of a poster of Fidel Castro. There were pictures of all the Cuban Revolutionary heroes on his walls, and the room was chock full of books, nicknacks, a bicycle, and other memorabilia of his life in Havana. He didn't ask for money and seemed proud he could show tourists a slice of Cuban life. The guy in the middle I met while walking alone along the Prado, a once-magnificent street leading down to the waterfront, or Malecon, but now in a sad state of disrepair, but a place I like for its crumbling architecture. We struck up a conversation and, after about ten minutes, I asked if I could take his picture. He readily agreed. I thanked him (his English was pretty good) and started to head back to the hotel. That's when the asking for money, a beer, a bar of soap began. When I go out for solo walks in Havana, I carry my camera and my room key. Nothing else for exactly that reason. I can't give something I don't have. It didn't get uncomfortable exactly, but it wasn't how I wanted our chance meeting to end. For the bottom shot, I had tried to take a photograph of this girl, but she wasn't having any of it and ducked away if I raised my camera to my eye. Our guide took us into this doorway to see the warren of apartments beyond. I turned around and there she was, framed in the door. I like the picture for a couple of reasons. The color of her dress mixes nicely with the walls behind her, including the spot of blue. I used the door as a framing device, and she's placed nicely off-center. Top and bottom, Sony  NEX7 at 1600 and 200 ISOs respectively. Middle shot, Sony NEX5n at 320 ISO.

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