Cuba Photo Workshop

Back from Cuba again and trying to absorb the impressions from both the photo workshop I taught and my own work I had time to pursue the last week of my stay there. The latter I will writer more about later. Here and now, I just want to convey my immediate thoughts on the workshop, which took place during the first week of my stay in Cuba.

We—the two teachers, my friend and colleague Sven Creutzmann and me—had a enthusiastic and devoted group of workshop participants in this workshop we have taught on and off since 2007. Our goal is to push every one of the participants to perform and develop as much as possible during the week the workshop lasts.

Sometimes we might be pushing too hard—at least for some—but for us it’s important that each and every participant returns with strong imagery from Cuba as well as with a feeling they have taken some major step forward in their photography. I believe everyone did exactly that, although a few in the beginning had a hard time adjusting to the pace and the frustration of not getting immediate results. As with everything that matters in life, it takes time and work to improve and develop. In a later post, I will show some of the amazing imagery the participants came up with.

The workshop started up with a couple of days in Havana. Among other events, the participants would cover the May First parade, the international workers’ day, which is a big festivity in Cuba. Of course there were plenty of street shooting in the bustling capital. After three days in Havana, we took off for Trinidad, a beautiful, old city situated almost in the middle of Cuba along the southern coast. The pace is slower and gentler and the participants were finally able to devote all their time to their personal project, which they had picked for the workshop.

This was when the participants really started to produce outstanding work. The picture critique every day was both fun and inspiring for that same reason. And of course, Sven and I kept pushing for more. If this workshop is not a boot camp, it’s still not a holiday, at least for those who choose to get as much out of it as possible. All the better that we staid at a hotel right on the Anchon beach so both we and the participants could cool off in the emerald green Caribbean sea in between the battles.

I think it is safe to say that everybody, by the end a week ago, had had a tremendous experience and not the least could look back on a week of great photography and personal development. Already now, Sven and I have scheduled the next workshop in Cuba. It will take place from May 6th to May 12th 2018. Maybe something to consider? Then take note of the date and set time aside.

On a different note, I must apologies for not having been able to follow up comments and notes on my blog while I was in Cuba. Internet access is so bad everywhere in Cuba it’s virtually impossible to do anything but answer emails. I promise I will get back to each and every one of you over the next weeks.


64 thoughts on “Cuba Photo Workshop

  1. Street photography is my favorite genre. Not that I’m great at it or trained in it, but it just fascinates me for the unblemished insights it offers in today’s airbrushed age.

  2. Intensive experiences like your workshops are so good. We all can use a push now and then, and let’s face it — we’re not so likely to push ourselves! I’m looking forward to seeing the photos, and hearing more about it.

  3. I always welcome and enjoy the posts you share following a trip to Cuba. I know the workshop participants consider themselves very fortunate to have been part of the experience! 😀

  4. Cuba tar och ger tusenfallt tillbaka, om man har öppna ögon och ett öppet sinne.
    Jag och min man har läst din artikel “Cuba Libre” i den intressanta avisen “Plot”.
    Vi uppskattade ditt sätt att berätta och att samtidigt ställa frågor till läsaren. Många tankar och frågor känner vi igen, dels i våra diskussioner sinsemellan, men även från samtal med Cubaner i den äldre generationen. Något vi noterade var att de inte gärna ville prata politik och egentligen inte heller var benägna att ta ställning för eller emot det gamla kontra det nya.
    Något vi känner igen är, precis som du skriver, är vänligheten och förmågan att “inte ta ut problemen i förskott”, utan att ta dem när och om de blir aktuella. En fantastisk egenskap som man önskar att fler skulle kunna leva efter.
    Fascinerande att läsa om när du kom till Cuba första gången och om utvecklingen…på gott och ont.
    Minns inte, men jag tror att jag har berättat om när jag var på Bahamas 1989 och gick in på en resebyrå för att boka en resa till Cuba? Javisst kan du åka dit, men du kommer inte in i USA igen…
    Det var då, nu vallfärdar, precis som du påpekar, Amerikaner, Europeer mfl dit för att försöka finna det genuina. Tror att det är och blir svårt om man inte avviker från turiststråken och “vågar” sig in på bakgator och utanför allfarvägarna.
    Ja, det blev en lång kommentar, men jag/vi vill återigen tacka för inspirerande och tankeväckande läsning.
    Hälsning från Gertie och Carl-Johan i ett regnigt Molde!

    1. Mange takk for en varmende kommentar. Den setter jeg stor pris på, Gertie. Og det er selvsagt kjekt å vite at dere gjenkjenner der i min artikkel om “det nye Cuba”. Det som du påpeker med kubanerne om å leve i nået og ikke ta problemene på forskudd, er jo noe av det som gjør det så spesielt å besøke landet. Jeg håper ellers at dere har en fin reise gjennom Norge. Alt det beste fra Bergen.

  5. Hi Otto, I am certain it was a wonderful experience for all under your guidance. Looking forward to more photos. Cuba is still high on my list.

  6. What a wonderful experience… I am so glad that you were able to be part of it… With your photographs you are not only capturing moments, but changing reality. I belive it is an engaging activity, which entails creativity, art … and social commitment, to a certain extent as well.
    Thank you so much for sharing this post with us, dear Otto… Love & best wishes! 😀

  7. Dear Otto, such a wonderful experience and opportunity for serious photographers. I can’t imagine many places more picturesque and beautiful, with such an amazing history. Being just a 45 minute flight from Havana, it is tempting. 🙂

  8. well, it looks like it would hurt my wrist trying to hold up a camera that much lol other than that, i can’t say anything about how much you push, your comments on my photography have always been kind and pushed me THAT way… i don’t mind being pushed with kindness… 🙂

      1. I’m sure they weren’t ( I think my playful attempt to play off of your sensitivity to the pressure placed on students to explore and capture as much of the Cuban experience as possible fell a little flat 😉 ).
        As a fan of photography, with an awareness of its challenges, I can say that I would be one of those struggling students as well…

  9. Photography workshops are fun!! I too am thinking of attending one ☺☺ Especially about proper lighting. The excursion looks very enriching and exciting. Waiting to see more photos ☺☺

  10. Cuba is such lovely country and you are doing photography i will be proud to look at them!
    i do like to ask you if you have adventured to Santiago de Cuba ,la sierra maestra ,and el cobre the home of the virgin of charity(caridad)?

  11. Hi
    Nice post! I’ve made a post about battery life so if you have time and will please go and check it out! If you like it pls follow me, I follow you.
    Thank you! 🙂

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