Tuesday, October 2, 2012

La Cantante, La Habana, Cuba, Summer, 2008

Here she stands one block away from her home, against a white wall and facing a wall drenched with sunlight. When we arrive a white truck is blocking the beautiful sunlight and a young man willingly moves the truck for us. She is dressed in her ballet outfit and has allowed her hair to fall naturally, rather than in the formal manner.

I photographed her two years or so ago on the famous walkway lining the Cuban capital as she walked with her family. She was willing then and is more than willing now. People stand to her left watching us work, but to her they are invisible. She looks straight into the lens and presents herself without limitations. When asked she raises her head, and shows me the meaning of love. In one portrait I might explain to those asking me: why do you continue to visit the island?

Then in a five minute clip as in the previous post, such questions would be laid to rest.

This young girl always puts her best foot forward, never accepts anything but her best effort. Just when I think she has sung her best version, she asks me to record yet another... and I do so beyond willingly. In temperatures that almost melt my camera along with humidity that forces me to wipe my forehead a few times during each performance, she sings effortlessly.

While people walk by on the street looking at us, she does the same. She never settles for anything but a most genuine expression, for this is her. Her mother is an incredible force, very much like the daughter. She tirelessly promotes her daughter and always provides pointers during our recordings, actually singing her pointers rather than just telling her daughter to do this and to do that. She leads by example.

In the background, and anything but the background, is her father. There are very few on the island with such character, with such humility. His words almost always bring tears to my eyes, because he always puts others before himself. His talents are clearly present, yet he plays almost inaudibly while his daughter performs, accompanying rather than leading. This man I admire very much, he is everything to his daughter and she is his purpose.

Halim Ina Photography