Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Woman + Hands, La Habana Vieja, Cuba, Summer of 2013


As we walked back down the street to find the other girls from our photography last year, this woman approached me and asked for her portrait to be made. The girls walking with me told me that she was an eccentric, and perhaps also prone to drinking. Hand language was used to tell me so, rather than the spoken word. Rarely in the mood to refuse a portrait, I accepted her proposal and we unpacked the reflector and set up the camera. As it turned out, she was incredibly expressive and we exposed four or so frames in the process.

We bid her farewell and then walked to find the other girls. This neighborhood happens to be, according to my Cuban friends, a most distressed one. My friends have always been surprised at my access to these girls, and see my free-walking from house to house as quite remarkable. To me however it seems natural, to ask about a young girl with a photograph in my hand and to follow the lead to the house in which she lives. My experience has shown me that almost all respond in a positive manner, ask questions initially to better understand the work and then provide access to their family once understanding is achieved.
I look forward to visiting this neighborhood in less than three weeks, and to share the photographs from last year with all of them.