New Photo Workshop in Cuba

© Nicolaas Kuipers
© Nicolaas Kuipers

This autumn coming up my friend and colleague Sven Creutzmann and I will once again teach a photo workshop in Cuba. This has been our longest running workshops, the first one going back to 2005. In other words, this year’s workshop will be a 10-year anniversary. The many participants we have had during the years, all come back with strong and captivating images – and all highly praise the workshop. Sven and I can promise you an exceptional experience.

If you have never set foot on Cuba, you will be amazed about the country that is so different from any other. No doubt for better and worse. The fact remains that for a photographer Cuba is nothing less than an earthly paradise – whatever else one may think about this paradox of a country. More than anything, it is the warm, passionate and welcoming people of Cuba, which makes it so special. However, it is so much more than that. It’s the colours, the startling light, the cultural diversity, the striking decay that is imminent everywhere, the colonial heritage, the African influence, the strange mixture of the country’s religions, the contradiction between a society stuck in the 50’s and trying to catch up with a contemporary way of living; and the country’s energy and sensuality.

This year’s photo workshop takes place between September 5th and September 12th. During these eight days you will get amble chances to photograph the rich Cuban culture and its people. While in Havana, the workshop coincides with the Virgen de Regla festival. This will be a great opportunity to capture some of the special Cuban cultural mix of Catholicism and the old African religions originating from the Yoruba area – or today’s Nigeria.

The workshop starts out with a couple of days exploring Havana, the bustling capital, and then we head south to Trinidad, maybe one of the most beautiful towns in the Caribbean where we will touch base for the rest of the time. Here Sven and I will give lectures, guidance and of course do picture critique every day, but most importantly you will be out photographing this spellbinding scenery, society and people.

The last couple of times we have had quite a few US Americans wanting to participate but the political situation has made it difficult to do so. The good news is that new rules put in place by President Obama earlier this year will make it easier for Americans to visit Cuba than it has been for most of the last half-century. This workshop will be a great chance to experience Cuba before it will quickly transform.

Feel like coming along? If you sign up before May 15th we’ll give you a 300 euro or around a 350 dollar discount. For more information – and to sign up – please look up the web site «Cuba in Essence» of Blue Hour Photo Workshop. See you in Cuba?

Pictures accompanying this post were taken by last year’s participants.

© Ingunn Trones
© Ingunn Trones

35 thoughts on “New Photo Workshop in Cuba

  1. There seems to be a fine art movement going on in Cuba right now. I have friends (Americans) who made a special trip last year just to snap up some art that they think will be very special some day. That’s about all I know about it…something in the zeitgeist I guess.

  2. BAM! That first shot right there had my attention! That is a stunning shot. Well done Nicolaas!

    Question(s) Otto; what are the easiest, hardest aspects and most proper and most improper aspects of photographing Cuba as a foreigner?

    1. I very much agree with you thought on Nicolaas’ photo.

      To your questions: The easiest is no doubt people’s openness and willingness to let you come close. The hardest is definitely to photograph the opposition or anything anti-Castro. I don’t think there is anything more proper to photograph in Cuba than any other place, but to approach whatever you photograph with respect and reverence. Finally it is definitely improper to try to photograph anyone who is in the stage of being initiated to the special Cuban Santaría religion. In practical terms it means not photographing any person dressed completely in white.

      1. That’s very, very interesting, about the Santaria. In Liberia, boys and girls who are participating in the bush school sometimes stay behind fences, but sometimes come out: perhaps for purposes of school. But they also are covered in white body paint, and are socially invisible. Here’s a photo of a girl so adorned. I’m not certain if this was taken in Sierra Leone or Liberia, but it’s from a tribe that crosses the national border.

  3. Yes, Cuba is amazing. My mind and heart is still there. And I’m not professional photographer but really wish could come with you! 🙂

  4. Aah, Cuba! It’s almost a decade since I was there. Would love to come on your workshop, but this year is a bit full at the wrong time! Hope you go again next year, and perhaps I can join in!

  5. I have been discussing visiting Cuba with my husband, before things change. As you state, ” This workshop will be a great chance to experience Cuba before it will quickly transform.” Cuba has long been a favourite paradise for Canadians. I believe that will change as well. I would love to visit around this workshop.
    A girl can dream!

  6. You have already made Cuba such an interesting country. I’m being completely honest when I tell you that when I heard President Obama’s first announcement that he was planning to ease up on travel restrictions and open up a more “friendly” American relationship with Cuba, I thought of you very quickly. I wondered what this might mean for some American photographers interested in joining you. This should be a very interesting trip. I look forward to what you bring back to us. 🙂

    1. It is indeed going to be interesting to see what Obama’s announcement will mean in the end. At least it’s a start. And hopefully it will be an opening for American photographs to join my workshop – or others taking place in Cuba.

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