Thursday, January 3, 2013

Camila y Leandro, Original Piece, Pan American Stadium, La Habana, Cuba, July 26, 2012


To put it simply luck was on my side this morning. I contacted Camila earlier in the week all on my own, since she spoke the clearest Spanish of anyone on the island. This was her style, rather than for my sake. We talked for a little bit and arranged a morning for our session. She then called me back and asked if her boyfriend Leandro would be able to participate as he is also a dancer.

I have always respected Camila and trusted her judgement. We collaborated the previous year and she was flawless, incredible. She heard the latter word from me so much that she would use it this past year in jest every time I would get excited about her movements. We agreed on Leandro's participation and arranged for an early time to meet.

The night before our session she called to tell me that her boyfriend was feeling ill, and offered herself for the session even though she also needed to take care of him. I of course agreed and went to sleep thinking we would be working with Camila only. As I woke up before sunrise to get ready the phone rang with Camila on the other end once again. It seemed like Leandro was feeling up to the task and would be ready to come with us.

All of the above passed and we were together finally to collaborate. We picked them up at Leandro's place, and headed out to the Pan American Stadium to work against its white wall in relative privacy. On our way they announced to me that they had a new piece that they would like to perform for the lens. I was deeply honored and quite happy, and only hoped that I would be up to the task myself. Most of my work is still, and now movement would be introduced.

Camila and Leandro were wonderful and allowed me to outline a few details before beginning, such as the general area of movement and direction of light. We worked both on film and in the digital format. Their professional approach made me feel comfortable enough to ask for a repeat of certain movements for the sake of film images, while they would be able to return to the spot from which they had rewound.

They also came prepared with darker attire as requested, and told me that this would have also been their selection regardless of request. We worked for perhaps two hours until the sun was too strong for further movement. On our way back we stopped for some juice, and the went our separate ways.

A day or so later I returned to Leandro's place to hand him a small album of photographs. In his most gentle voice he repeated the same word over and over again: preciosa. I was so happy that he enjoyed the images and was proud to have been able to hand them to him so quickly. He and Camila have the above images, and I plan to give them various silver gelatin prints from my darkroom in six months upon our next collaboration.

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Halim Ina Photography