Sunday, April 7, 2013

Passage of Time, Young Girl, Havana, Cuba, 2005 - 2012




Almost eight years differentiate these two images, but perhaps much more than that in terms of her life experiences. She lives on the island of Cuba and has seen more in her young life than many. She lives with her extended family in a home converted from a corner store decades ago. The home lacks windows and is beyond hot in the summer, complicated by the metal walls that were once the vertically sliding doors of the store.

In the first image she posed for me in front of her home, as we found her playing with her friends a few minutes prior. We of course asked her mother and were given permission to photograph her without preparation. The sun was about to set, so what one sees here is the sun just above her own building striking her face. Twenty or so minutes later the sun disappeared, but our friendship was formed.

The latter image was made this past July, on top of my friend's home. The choice of location was made in order to give her more privacy, since she has now become a bit older. Her mother prepared her with a dark outfit, and we photographed for perhaps an hour or so under the grueling sun. In the middle of the summer one of the variables is the heat, but this young spirit perseveres always.

She is the star of her neighborhood which happens to be one of the most visited by tourists in the capital. It is a community of artists, the walls are a testament to their artistic skills. Gatherings are constant, and music is always in the air. Her family is in charge of the street along with others, and she walks freely and with confidence along with her siblings and cousins. 

She is quite the performer. Many have photographed her, and she has met more than her share of tourists, and remains quite unimpressed by it all. 

Few in my experience have her range of emotion, at times extremely happy and then at a moment's notice quite sad. It is perhaps this that makes her images so striking and moves me to return year after year to her home. My friend's apartment is less than a two minute walk from her home, and I usually find myself walking over at night to just hang out with the family. 

I hope that she remains curious about the work and allows me to photograph her this summer also. I have a feeling that much has changed and that perhaps it's her time to grow out of the project. Time will tell, my fingers will be crossed.

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Halim Ina Photography