Cuba is a dream for any photographer. But it’s a nightmare for anyone who wants to stay connected with the rest of the world. The internet must be one of the worst in any country I have ever visited. Even Western Sahara which I visited earlier this year could offer better internet connection. Internet in Cuba is both unreliable and for the most part extremely slow. That’s why I have managed to take care of only the most important emails while visiting the Caribbean island. Otherwise I would have been spending hours in front of the computer. That’s also the reason I have been absent from any blogging. Even though I prepared a post by uploading pictures before leaving for Cuba and then just having to add an updated text, I still decided it would take too long to even make a try. Sorry for be away from the blog sphere.
Nevertheless I had a great time in Cuba. It’s a fantastic place to visit and Cubans are extremely welcoming. I visited my second family in Viñales, the farmers I have stayed in contact with for 20 years. And I spend time with my colleague and friend Sven Creutzmann planning new exciting photo workshops for next year (and upcoming years) – which I eventually will get back to. Of course I photographed, too, but this time it was much less about photography than brain storming and planning.
I still haven’t had time to edit the pictures from this trip to Cuba, so I will instead post a handful from previous travels. The new pictures will come in one of the next posts. And, again, sorry for not having been able to follow up on all you my blogger friends.
115 thoughts on “Ups and Downs of Cuba”
A wonderful series of pictures Otto. You have really captured the essence of the people and place.
Thank you for the nice words, Russell.
wonderful photographs, especially the first one fascinated me. Thank you dear Otto, have a nice travels, love, nia
Thank you, Nia.
Welcome back! Wonderful selection of photographs from your trip.
BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!
Thank you, Francine.
I am quite sure that the time spent away from the computer screen was time very very well spent. Hope you got a lot of shooting done!
You are quite right, in many ways it’s is nice to have to be away at least from internet access. And, yes, I did get some good shooting done. Thanks.
Welcome back! Intriguing photos. I especially love the colors and textures in the top photo. I’ll look forward to seeing what you did this trip.
Thank you, Linda. It’ll still take some time before I have processed all the pictures.
Velkommen hjem! Hyggelig at du er tilbake i bloggland! ; )
Herlig utvalg bilder! Det første av de tre karene liker jeg spesielt godt! ; ) Jammen har du vært tett på Castro – hvilket år var dette?
Frister med workshop i Cuba! : )
Takk for hyggelig ord. Bildet av Castro er fra 2000 i forbindelse med Elián Gonzáles-saken, gutten som overlevde en båtferd fra Cuba til Miami. Moren døde underveis, og etterpå ble det en stor sak mellom Cuba og USA om hvor gutten skulle få være.
Looking forward to seeing the rest!
More pictures will come as soon as I have found time to process them.
Welcome back Otto!
Thank you, Elana.
Man, I love all of these images.
Wonderful images, Otto…you surely have a handle on shooting people with a wide angle…something I shy away from…nice to have you back!
Wide angel is definitely my favourite lens, particularly when shooting people. I like the closeness it creates between me and the subjects – and the fact that it will show people in their environment.
Thanks for sharing. My favorite – the photo of the young lady in the pink gown. What a great moment to capture. There is something about it that looks so lovely.
Thank you Deborah.
You have been missed, welcome back! These are wonderful photos, love the one with the girl getting primped for a special occasion and the 3 men sitting on the stoop. I look forward to your recent trip shots, it does look like an amazing place to shoot.
Cuba is indeed a very special place to photograph. Thanks for the nice words.
Love these pics and will look forward to your new ones too 🙂
Thank you. New pictures from Cuba will be posted as soon as I have processed them.
Great pics! I’m eagerly waiting to see the next round!
Thank you, Tobi.
Welcome back Otto. This is one stunning post, the photos are superb. I wasn’t too sure when first seeing the thumnails, if I was looking at yours or Steve McCurry’s blog. Your styles are very similar and of course both outstanding.
Thank you David. That is quite a comparison. I am very honoured. 🙂
These are fabulous images Otto. you’ve certainly captured the spirit of the p[lace and its people.
Thank you, Edith.
Welcome back ! Great, I like all the photos but specially the one with the four man playing at the table. Excellent light and colors. Now, waiting for the pictures from your recent trip.
Thank you, Robert. The rest of the pictures will surely not be posted, but a selection for sure – whenever I get time to process them. 😉
Welcome back! Wonderful photographs! The photograph on the bottom does remind me of a land of bygone time.
So much about Cuba has a feeling of bygone times. It’s part of the attraction of the country – at least for a photographer.
I’m glad you made it safely back. It’s nice to “see” you again. I am looking forward to seeing some of your new work.
Thank you, Michelle. It’s been quite busy even after I got back from Cuba, but now it seems like I will have some time to catch up.
I’d love to visit our neighbor island one of these days. By the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to share a poem that Lola Rodríguez de Tió once wrote about Cuba. She was a Puerto Rican poet and died in Cuba the 10th of November, 1924. The poem is in Spanish though…, but there is a line that says: Cuba and Puerto Rico are the two wings of the same bird.
“MI LIBRO DE CUBA” de Lola Rodriguez de Tió
¡Vuestros dioses tutelares
Han de ser también los míos!
Vuestras palmas, vuestros ríos
repetirán mis cantares…
Culto rindo a estos hogares
Donde ni estorba ni aterra
El duro brazo que cierra
Del hombre los horizontes…
¡Yo cantaré en estos montes
Como cantaba en mi tierra!
Cuba y Puerto Rico son
De un pájaro las dos alas,
Reciben flores y balas
Sobre el mismo corazón…
¡Qué mucho si en la ilusión
Qué mil tintes arrebola,
Sueña la musa de Lola
Con ferviente fantasía,
¡De esta tierra y la mía,
Hacer una patria sola!
Le basta al ave una rama
Para formar blando lecho:
Bajo su rústico techo
¡Es dichosa porque ama!
Todo el que en amor se inflama
Calma en breve su hondo anhelo:
Y yo plegando mi vuelo,
Como el ave en la enramada,
Canto feliz, Cuba amada,
¡Tu mar, tu campo y tu cielo!
Thanks for the beautiful poem. Of course Cuba has changed quite bit since Lola Rodríguez de Tió wrote it.
Wonderful photo essay.
Thank you, Laura.
i think you have a wonderful second family in cuba.. your photos are all amazing, rich in “life” and all with stories to tell..looking forward to the rest of your photos during your travel..
Thank you, Elizabeth.
A wonderful selection from your older shots of Cuba, Otto. I’m always partial to intimate scenes with people, as in these beautiful ones here, but what I want to single out in my comment is your handling of the composition in the third photo of the building. The strategically placed passers
by give this such a great atmosphere, making it so much more than just a purely architectural shot.
Thank you for your well founded comment. And thanks for the nice words, Andrew.
A wonderful preview. Glad you’re home safe and sound.
Thank you, Angeline.
I love seeing the photos again and am reminded that ¥ou must hjave been in heaven with that wonderfull light and the background of those colors! Looking forward to you images. Carla
Thank you Carla. Yes, for a photographer, Cuba is definitely heaven…
Welcome Back Home. Always Love your photos of people so wonderful! the colors, bars and windows of the first photo very mesmerizing. I look forward to seeing photos from your trip. It was probably nice to be away from the work of the computer for awhile also nice to have time to do some brain storming. Don’t feel bad about being away you are like a free bird and should not be teatherd, and that is a good thing. Sounds like you had a good trip. Nice to spend time with your second family as well. :+)
I did have a very nice time – both away from the computer, and with my second family, shooting and brain storming. Absolutely. Thanks for the nice words.
I love the colors and light in all of these! Welcome home!
Thank you, Barbara.
You are one of my favourite bloggers. Glad to see you here again! 🙂
Thank you so much, Inge. I am blushing. 🙂
Very interesting post Otto. I enjoy visiting places through your images.
Thank you, Phillip.
Great collection of photos. They really provide a sense of place. I’d love to visit Cuba someday.
Thank you, Mary. Hopefully the chance will present itself one day.
A wonderful serie of Cuba. I love the first photo of this post. I visited Cuba several years ago and loved being there. It is so much different than Europe 😉
Cuba is much different from any country. And it’s rapidly changing. Thank you for the nice words.
Wow you even got a picture of Mr Castro!
Cuba is an island of great colors, great history and marvelous people and you shared all of that in these few pix.
I have two questions:
1. Why is it so hard to get onto the internet?
2. How do the Cubans manage? Or don’t they? – in other words which is exactly what the government wants
Thank you for your comment and questions, Roseanne. Cuba is not connected up to the big wire that runs just outside the coast (and guess why…). Instead all internet connections go through a unstable wire to Venezuela. In addition mostly in Cuba you connect with internet by dial-up. Which only makes it worse. Cubans in general don’t have internet. And it’s surely part of the control – besides the technical limitations.
Hi, Otto. Love this. Now I’m inspired by your photos to craft a story again. I look at the people’s faces and I ask myself, “Who are they? What do they dream about? Aspire for? Who do they love?”
Maybe I’ll wait for more photos on Cuba. What do you think?
As I wrote on your blog, I think it would be fun if you would like to write another story based on one of my photos. But I don’t think you need to wait for more pictures. Just pick any that inspires you. 🙂
Welcome back, Otto!! I love your review about your second family and see, we have not forgotten about you…I guess you make the saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” a reality. Lol!! 🙂
Thank you for the sunshine. I am glad I am not all forgotten. 🙂
Goodness cannot be forgotten…:)
like the weekend for instance!!!! Yay!
beautiful and interesting series
Welcome back … For me, the color and contrast in your pictures bring them to life while activating a story.
Thank you, Frank.
You’re aways missed, Otto, but with such an amazing country, the “highs” and “lows,” I think you probably more fully experienced a connection to the people by being so disconnected from the rest of your life. I will be very eager to hear more about this trip and see your photos. As I’ve said before, and share with so many Americans, I have a tremendously strong feeling for the Cuban people. This isn’t the place for political talk, but you can assume I would like to see some changes in American policy. I will relish anything you share from the trip! Debra
I totally agree with you, it would be great if some day (not too long into the future either) if we would see some changes in the American policy visa vis Cuba. And I wouldn’t mind seeing some changes in Cuba, too, but maybe not the way some US Americans and politicians would like it…
Such vibrancy and vitality in each shot and so looking forward to seeing your latest!
Thank you, Patti.
Your Cuba photos always sparkle… Love them.
Gorgeous pics Otto, I hope your trip was profitable in many ways.
Thank you Mark. The trip was indeed good in many ways.
Incredible series Otto – I’ll look forward to seeing the shots from this trip!
Thank you, Nick.
This serie is totally awesome. I like particularely the first by the attitudes and expressions of the characters as well as colors. But I like others too. I think just a shame that your images are so small in size.
Thank you for the nice words. The size of the pictures is as it is to make the site upload quicker – and to prevent anyone to misuse them. Small pictures won’t work on printed matter.
Stunning pictures as always, you have an impressive talent! Thank you for sharing them,
Very nice photos!
No reason to excuse, that you are not connected and updated on blogging, Otto – I just enjoy every photo and story, that you post here – and admire your project about your second family.
Thank you for the nice words, Truels.
What an incredible place it must be to shoot. How do you limit your self? lol
It’s quite place, yes. Do I have to limit myself? 😉
Incredible shots. Taking photos of people is a weakness of mine, but I love looking at images who so clearly understand how to do it well. Thank you.
If you want to take photos of people, there is only one way to get good at it: Do it and keep doing it. A lot… Thanks for the nice words.
enthralled by such interesting images of a really fascinating country
Great series of images. Sometimes it does a body and soul good to be disconnected for a while. Welcome back! 🙂
I do agree with you – it’s good to be disconnected for a while. But not longer…
Feels great to see you back. These are some excellent pictures. So realistic and colorful. Can’t wait to see more pictures from this trip of yours. 🙂
Thank you Arindam.
I enjoyed your photos from Cuba. The backgrounds and people look fascinating. I’ve always wanted to photograph there but unfortunately the last 4 years I dedicated to photographing my book on atomic bomb survivors. Now that the book is released I have an interest to photograph in Cuba.
I think whatever project one is working on, is great for a the personal development and engagement. And it sounds like you have been working on a great project. I wouldn’t use the word unfortunately. Is the book available in regular book stores, by the way?
Muchas gracias por entrar a mi Blog. No conozco Cuba, pero felicitaciones por la serie de éste país. Soy de Montevideo. Uruguay.
I’ve never been to Cuba, Otto, but really enjoyed your account…I’ve heard that a lot (great for photos, not so great for some of the other more common “luxuries”, like internet. Great pics, as usual!
In simple nine pictures you have brilliantly told the whole story of Cuba. Truly relished this post.
Absolutely TOP Images!