Saturday, April 30, 2016

Campesino + Field, San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, 2013



When we drove by this man in the field, he was making sure that the water flowed freely. We decided to stop and ask for his portrait, and were glad we did. He was working for the owner of that plot of land, and earned barely enough to support his family living less than a hundred meters from this very spot.

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 campesinos, 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 above. He told us that sometimes the youth come by at night and steal the crops to 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.



Note: These images were made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/60 mm lens combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.