Laid-Back Caribbean Style

Etter regnfall er spillet igang igjen

"El Norte" Nuñez ved gården sin

Et vennlig smil møter man overalt

Munchow_0696-071

Livet i Gibara er preget av fred og ro

I have just returned from teaching a workshop in Cuba. It was some very intense and busy days – but also very satisfying. It’s not only a pleasure to teach and talk about photography, but I learn just as much as I hope the participants do. It’s too early to show any new pictures from this trip Cuba, so instead I have uploaded a couple of older pictures I have taken during previous trips to the Cuba. I hope to be able to post some new pictures from the workshop in a week’s time or so.

During the time in Cuba, I have not had any chance to connect through blogs, Facebook or other social medias. At lot can be said about this Caribbean country but internet is certainly not its strongest feature – to put in diplomatically. For this reason I have not been able to post anything on this blog – or visit any of your latest post. Over the next couple of weeks, though, I will try to catch up.

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103 thoughts on “Laid-Back Caribbean Style

  1. Great photos, like the composition and they tell a story. Very intrigued by the fourth one, find myself wondering if this woman’s car is in her living room or is her living room in the garage? Also like the triangle formed by the man in the foreground, the young boy and the man in the shed.

  2. Look forward to seeing images from the current trip, but I can assure you the older shots are stunning, especially the 3rd image ‘portrait’. Such a marvellous composition.

  3. tonight i realized that your site had been quiet, so i checked to see if i’d missed some posts… shazam! this one was so fresh that the ink hadn’t dried!

    i loved the image of the lady (reina!) on the sofa with the car in the back of the living room.. or was the lady and the sofa in the garage/bodega?!! great photo, and i also loved the floor beneath her feet.

    welcome back! z

  4. Fantastic shots, and a fantastic workshop with great learning and experiences! Highly recommanded and a huge credit to Sven and Otto!

  5. Intense, busy…and satisfying ~ that is a brilliant description of your photos as well 🙂 Great perspective on the first shot, but it is the 3rd shot that brings out the personality and satisfying time I think you must have felt there. What a trip it must have been (a dream destination of mine…someday!). Welcome back.

  6. It’s not often I experience a twang of envy… But, having a legitimate excuse to keep returning to Cuba… Ah, if only. Well, at least I can enjoy your beautiful photos that recall the wonderful experiences we had when we spent a month there last year. Great compositions. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Wonderful images, as always. I love the lighting and composition of the lady on the sofa especially… and the gritty, grainy drama of the final shot above. Wonderful stuff – a feast for the eyes and inspiration for those of us hungry for it. 🙂 Great stuff. Mother Hen

  8. Great pictures that capture the life there. Each one tells different story. I like how you approach the subjects that brings the message out. I love them all and they so matching the title.

  9. It is so hard to catch up once you fall behind. I’m struggling with that as well. If you have a secret how to do it let me know.
    I love the feel of these photos. Warm, inviting and friendly. They certainly make you want to visit.

    1. I think there is no secret to catching up. One just have to do as good as possible – and feel one cannot really catch up. Thanks for the nice words, Michelle, I am glad you like the photos.

  10. I can most definitely relate to having internet difficulties. I, too, am MIA while in India….though it’s probably worse in Cuba. Oddly enough, the like button didn’t come up here…and I searched hard for it India always opens my eyes further and found that I really looked at your photographs and saw more than I usually do…and there is much to take in. Excellent compositions, perspectives and creative use of depth of field-as always. Gracias, Otto.

    1. De nada, Nina. I have been to quite a few place around the world – and Cuba seems to be one of the worst when it comes to internet access. Only dial-up – if it works at all. Thank for the comment.

      1. This isn’t relevant but something that has been on my mind lately as I wander around rural India. Do you ever pay a local for a photograph? I watched a tourist do exactly that today and I began to question this. The subject was happy to pose and even happier to be paid. And the tourist got a good photograph.What do you think?

        1. I don’t like to pay for a photograph. For me it has to do with mutual respect. When I photograph someone on the street I want it to be something of a mutual sharing. If I start to pay, I become the master and whoever receive the money becomes my minion. At the same time I see arguments for paying when you visit poor countries – since it’s a way to contribute on some level at least. In the end I don’t think there is right and wrong here. Each will have to go with his or her own conscious.

  11. Classically Cuban images.

    Physicist Michio Kaku has a map of the Earth that shows exactly that the countries that have wealth also have regular and common Internet access. It’s a very interesting look at the world.

    My wife and i have thought about visiting Cuba. I’m thinking that If I went, of course I would have to photograph the place up but I would also want to meet and talk to individuals who have relatives abroad that they haven’t seen since they defected decades ago; especially those that went to the US. I’d like to get their story, and document that through photography.

    Maybe it’s been done already but I’m not aware of it.

    1. I think you idea for a project is great. It may have been done before, but not the way you will approach. Basically everything has already been done. It’s one’s personal approach that makes the difference. I am sure you will have a great time in Cuba if you go.

  12. I love how you make me feel I am there. I think while other countries have not-so-great internet access, our country has slower internet than some like South Korea. I’ll look forward to more images from this country!

  13. I always look forward to your Cuba photos. These are beautiful – I think my favorite is the man with the cigar – his genuine smile is infectious!

  14. I’ve been following the career of Yoani Sanchez since her earliest days, when she disguised herself as a tourist in order to upload her blog to foreign servers from the lobby of a hotel denied to most Cubans.. The intricacies of online life there certainly have been, shall we say, complicated. One of my customers was raised in Havana. His father was killed by Castro immediately following the Bay of Pigs invasion, and all of his holdings appropriated. If you’d like, you could read the story here.

    Your images are wonderful. I’m looking forward to seeing more. And yes, it’s so true: teaching is as satisfying for the teacher as for the students.

  15. Great to read your post again Otto. Beautiful photos from the past 🙂 I am looking forward to see the new ones 😉
    I remember my trip to Cuba last year, the only suitable internet was – surprisingly – in the middle of mangrove area and ocean called Jardines de la Reina. After leaving the area we were off without internet for weeks. How weird it was but I remember that I enjoyed those days without having internet 🙂

  16. On the road again…som vanligt, eller hur!?
    Har varit inne här hos dig några gånger och undrar vart du tagit vägen…bra, nu vet jag:)
    Och du, så skönt att få en liten semester från de sociala medierna…på gott eller ont…mest gott, tror jag:)
    Ha det gott, vagabond och kreatör som du är…

    1. Takk for vakre ord, Gertie. Jeg setter alltid pris på ditt besøk. Og du har selvsagt helt rett. Det er alltid deilig når en blir tvunget vekk fra sosiale medier. Egentlig skulle en vel klare det til vanlig også, men det er jo alltid noe som en bare må sjekke opp…

  17. Hej Otto, fantastiska bilder och damen på soffan med bilen känner jag lite extra för. Vet att jag under våren läste ett inlägg av dig där du tipsade om att nyttja vidvinkelobjektiv för tx porträtt. Skulle gärna vilja ta del av det igen men hittar det inte. Vet du vilket jag menar kan du väl hänvisa mig dit.
    Härligt att du verkar nöjd med e-workshopen och jag är övertygad om att dina studenter också är nöjda. Du är en fantastiskt skicklig fotolärare som jag varmt rekomenderar.
    Allt Gott.
    Monica

  18. If you have been in the Caribbean (in my case in Cuba) these fine photos immediately engage you again and brings you to back to the relaxed, friendly and happy atmosphere. Fantastic photos, Otto! The man with the cigar – and the lady on the sofa in front of the car (!) are my favorites!

  19. Velkommen hjem! Forstår du har hatt nok en vellykket workshop i Cuba : ) Håper selv å få til en tur til Cuba i 2015 – kanskje delta på en av dine workshop ; )
    Bildene dine er som alltid gode, liker spesiellt det siste bilde i serien – herlig! ; )
    Ønsker deg gode dager!

  20. A trip to Cuba is on my bucket list, I would love to take a workshop there. Looking forward to what you have to share with us from your trip. I spent a month in the southwest recently and must say internet was not always available/reliable it was annoying at first once I got used to not checking in all the time it was actually refreshing 🙂

  21. I love your photos from Cuba, Otto! And as I am traveling to Cuba next month, I was wondering if you can give some advice about taking pictures, especially of people. Is there any specifics in Cuba? Not everywhere people like to be taken in photos.

    1. How lucky you are to get to go to Cuba! What you find is that it’s very easy to photograph most anything in Cuba – particularly people. I don’t really have any specific advice about shooting people, besides being friendly and respectful in your approach. I can hardly think of another country where people are so at ease being photograph. In Havana and in some tourist spots like Trinidad you will find some people asking for money. If they dress up traditionally it’s obvious they are doing it for money and I think it’s fair enough to pay – or not taking photos of them. Whether you want to pay otherwise I think it’s really up to how you see it. Outside of the tourist tracks you will find that people would rather asked to be photographed just for the fun of it. Cubans are very relaxed and have a lot of self-confidence which makes them very easy to photograph. Just keep one thing in mind: People completely dressed in white are generally in a period of religious initiation and are not allowed to be photographed.

      1. Thank you very much, Otto! Your advises are very helpful, especially about the people dressed up in white. In Africa people were also very easy to be photographed but I think in Cuba will be much more fun, as you have said. 🙂

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