Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Elderly Woman, The Street, Habana, Cuba, July 18, 2011

On the second roll of film in the morning this image was made.

She was sitting on a ledge in front of a home, with newspapers all around. As Eldo and I crossed the street we saw her. It took me a minute to share my thoughts with Eldo, for we were crossing one of the busiest streets in the capital. People were walking to work and everyone noticed us slowing down to speak with her.

Eldo is both my friend and my guide on the island. He helps me like few others have ever done. He believes in the work and considers it his own. In the morning he prepares pineapple juice for us and in the evening rice and beans are waiting by the good grace of his beautiful wife.

He is also a photographer, but approaches his subjects in a different way. Rather than waling to them directly and speaking with them regarding their portraits, he likes to communicate only with gestures and make images after receiving more subtle forms of agreement. So for Eldo to walk up to this wonderful woman and speak directly is a testament to his dedication regarding our collaboration.

We begin making images with our 35 mm cameras at first, then pull out the medium format pieces and the tripod. On this busy street we are noticed by many, and our actions cause people to react in different ways. Some move on without sharing their thoughts, some show their disapproval openly. While I have never been able to completely ignore such reactions, this tender woman allows her portrait to be made and does so with more confidence than both photographers combined.

She neither judged our actions nor the reactions of the people walking by us. I admired her then and even more so after going through her images just today. I will walk past this exact spot many times this July and hope to see her on this same ledge. I will then hand her this exact portrait and hope she allows me another.

For more of my work, and to contribute your thoughts regarding this project, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography