Monday, October 27, 2014

Guajiro + Field, San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, Summer of 2013


He went from a plot of land in San Antonio de los Baños to the stage of Tedx Talk this past weekend. Hundreds of people watched him smiling, as he held the handle of a shovel with his left hand, the same tool he used just a few minutes ago to make sure the irrigation was taking place properly in between rows of crops behind him.

He had taken a break to speak with Alejandro, and I took advantage of the moment to get down on the ground and make photographs in the style of the Soviet era masters, placing themselves below the workers. Knowing Alejandro's propensity to converse at length with his fellow guajiros, I had plenty of time to compose the images.

What moved me most was to be in the midst of this incredible conversation, and to be unnoticed while making a visual record of the audible. We did return that same day incredibly to hand him the photographs, and were able to see his home adjacent to these fields. He worked the fields for someone else, and barely made ends meet as described in the talk. He told us that sometimes the youth come by at night and steal the crops for sale the next morning on the road, that in one hour they steal enough to make more than he does working in the hot sun all day.

He pointed out to us that almost all of the workers in his area were older men, while the younger men had fun during the day, and stole the crops by night. Only by having such conversations can I learn about such difficult lives. Only by being with Alejandro would this man have ever shared such intimate details of his life with a stranger from up north.

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M2, edited for size and contrast only.