Friday, November 30, 2018

Six Faces + Tree, India, 2018

These are the faces awaiting me in the darkroom this weekend... truly a reason to give thanks this and every week. My dear brother Mukesh Poswal was with me for every one of these images, made them each possible!

Estas son las caras que me esperan en el cuarto oscuro mañana ... verdaderamente una razón para dar gracias esta y todas las semanas. Mi querido hermano Mukesh Poswal estuvo conmigo por cada una de estas imágenes, ¡las hizo posibles!


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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Boys Will Be Boys, Kisumu, Kenya, 2006


A dozen years ago I was privileged to have access to a beautiful community in western Kenya, thanks to a foundation named MACODEF. We went from village to village, from school to school, in search of incredible people and stories. Here is another image from that impromptu session, with one of the boys being a boy!

This school was on the outskirts of Kisumu, and we walked just to the side to make portraits of the entire student body. Some children had shoes and some lacked, while almost all of the children were wearing the only uniform that they possessed. The foundation is doing remarkable work given the conditions, and I applaud their efforts sincerely. Note: Image was made with a Nikon F100 camera.

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Note: Image was made with a Nikon F100 camera.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Group of Boys + Boulders, Kisumu, Kenya, 2006


A dozen years ago I was privileged to have access to a beautiful community in western Kenya, thanks to a foundation named MACODEF. We went from village to village, from school to school, in search of incredible people and stories. 

This school was on the outskirts of Kisumu, and we walked just to the side to make portraits of the entire student body. Some children had shoes and some lacked, while almost all of the children were wearing the only uniform that they possessed. The foundation is doing remarkable work given the conditions, and I applaud their efforts sincerely.


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Note: Image was made with a Nikon F100 camera.

Young Girl + Forest, Lake Granada, Nicaragua, 2017


Spent a few days in the darkroom this past week, and looking forward to the rest of November in that sweet space printing the work from Nicaragua. Here is a young girl living on the outskirts of Lake Granada, tending land with her mother for another family.


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Note: Frame exposed with a Hasselblad 503 CW/100 mm lens combination.

Young Student + Green Wall, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018


This young girl lives in a small village inside of Uttar Pradesh, India. She attends a Koranic School for hours each day. Her parents have little faith in the government school, and such is reflected in its attendance daily. The community however believes in the Madrasa and a school has been established within!

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Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Girl + Kajal, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018


Whenever, and I mean whenever she is asked to step forward for her photograph she steps up without hesitation. She has the most different way of speaking, and is in perfect harmony with the camera. She understands my need to photograph her perfectly... and on this day came with kajal around her eyes for this incredible portrait.

Every once in a while doubt regarding the work comes up... whether that arises from the field, from the foundation or from the difficulties in raising funds. Each and every time there is a sense of doubt my memories of her eases my anxiety. She is without a doubt the inspiration for this collaboration and pushes me always to do more.

How could anyone let her and her friends down?

She lives in a tiny village within the district of Shamli. Her and her siblings have always attended religious classes in Kari Shokeen's madrasa. For the past year she has also received the general curriculum thanks to the new school, and attended sewing class in the afternoon.

Kari Shokeen and Imdadulla Nadvi have succeeded in transforming the religious school into an incredible space for learning. The rooftop of the school now has two beautiful classrooms, with a private bathroom. The wall was extended so as to give the girls privacy, while the teaching staff is all-female.

I love watching her in class under such circumstances. She and her friends have my support always, and I am grateful for those of us who have been generous enough to support this humble cause.


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Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW/100 mm combination.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Shanu + Fabric, Virat Nagar, Rajasthan, India, 2018


She goes by her nickname and is an inspiration in class. Even though she's unable to speak, she expresses herself perfectly. She loves to be photographed, and freezes when she sees the camera. Usually she focuses immediately on the lens and makes her way to a spot in front of the camera.

I have been photographing in her village for over 12 years now, well before she was born. She has grown up in the school and has always known this strange man coming by to document. Now she is the inspiration behind the posts to locate funding for her school, and the others as well.

On this day we attempted to do some photography of the girls living next to the building in the background, but attracted just too much attention to be effective. So we decided to call it a day and began walking back to the teacher's home.

This is when we noticed the beautiful light and decided to put the camera down right there and then. Shanu of course noticed the camera and put herself together immediately. This is her expression when she notices the camera, total and complete focus!

We photographed her for a few minutes while she maintained this intensity while all others looked on. We then walked down the path a little bit and made some spontaneous photographs of the rest of the crowd.

She is something else!


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Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW/100 mm lens combination and scanned through the protective sleeve for review only.

Luis Miguel + Las Canchas, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


El verano pasado, gracias a Gysleda, se me apareció una nueva forma ... y el trabajo con los bailarines de Cuba mejoró increíblemente. Un día, cuando pasamos por EGOS, Gysleda me dijo que era necesario incluir un bailarín específico, su amigo. Ella le dijo que viniera a la escuela el fin de semana para hablar con nosotros.

Por supuesto, Luis Miguel estuvo en la escuela a tiempo, y preparamos un plan para nuestra colaboración. Aunque Luis Miguel era un profesional, por supuesto, no podía imaginar el resultado de nuestra mañana siguiente.

Cuando llegamos a las canchas, él estaba listo con varias ropas y personalidades. Sinceramente, fue un momento increíble ... ya que estábamos en un teatro en la ciudad. Tuvimos dos horas para documentar sus ideas, sus sueños ... ¡y realmente necesitábamos mucho más!

Después de nuestra colaboración, este increíble bailarín me ofreció a algunos de sus amigos para la fotografía ... y más de ocho trabajaron conmigo antes de mi viaje a los Estados Unidos. ¡El año que viene estoy listo para hacer mucho más y honrar los talentos de Luis Miguel y sus amigos!

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This past summer, thanks to Gysleda, a new way appeared to me ... and the work with the dancers of Cuba improved incredibly. One day when we went through EGOS, Gysleda told me that it was necessary to include a specific dancer, his friend. She told him to come to the school the end of the week to talk to us.

Of course Luis Miguel was in school on time, and we prepared a plan for our collaboration. Although Luis Miguel was a professional of course, I could not imagine the outcome of our next morning.

When we arrived at the courts, he was ready with several clothes, and personalities. Honestly it was an incredible moment ... as we were in a theater in the city. We had two hours to document their ideas, their dreams ... and we really needed a lot more!

After our collaboration this incredible dancer offered me some of his friends for photography ... and more than eight worked with me before my trip to the United States. Next year I am ready to do much more, and to honor the talents of Luis Miguel and his friends!

Note: This image was exposed with a Hasselblad V system and scanned through the protective sleeve for review, and is being shared because I am excited for what is to come when the film is processed!


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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

From the Negative to the Print, The Darkroom, Thanksgiving Eve, 2018





This is what the print looks like as the first paper is being fixed in the darkroom. The frame was exposed in India, then brought back to the world as a silver print thousands of miles away... magical like her beauty! 

These were made in the moment with an iPhone, the first of which was the negative in my hand over one of the chemical baths. The second is of the negative being projected onto the paper in the easel, and the third of which is the final print in the fixer.

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Darkroom + Nicaragua, November, 2018


Spent a few days in the darkroom this past week, and looking forward to the rest of November in that sweet space printing the work from Nicaragua. Here we have two dancers from the beautiful city of Léon. They presented themselves without hesitation and the images take my breath away almost one year later.

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Note: Frame exposed with a Hasselblad 503 CW/60 mm lens combination.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Alison + Arbor, Managua, Nicaragua, 2017


Hoy pasé en el cuarto oscuro trabajando en sus fotografías y pude imprimir éste. Era un poco más joven que Alison cuando vivía en la misma ciudad, hace más de 45 años. Nos fuimos porque un terremoto destruyó nuestra casa y yo regresé porque también es mi tierra natal.

Mis primos tuvieron la amabilidad de ayudarme con mis viajes y me volvieron a introducir en nuestro país. Uno de mis primos permitió que un empleado de confianza me acompañara, y la primera visita que hicimos fue al vecindario de su hijo en las afueras de la capital. Allí conocimos a Alison, y al instante supimos que ella era una estrella.

Era más que su belleza, era la forma en que respondía con curiosidad a nuestra visita. Tenía la sensación de que ella le hablaría a la cámara honestamente, y por eso le pedimos permiso para hacer su retrato. La familia era maravillosa, pero nos pareció cómico que estuviéramos interesados ​​en hacer su fotografía.

Sin embargo, hicimos sus fotografías durante algunas visitas, siempre teniendo que esperar hasta el final de la tarde para obtener la luz más suave. Cuando sus ojos estaban cómodos, ella hizo lo mejor que pudo. Era magnífica, como seguramente demuestra este retrato.

Alison verá esta publicación, ya que su madre y su tía son mis amigas en FB. Espero que este retrato le guste, y que ella vea cuánta gente adora su belleza y espíritu.

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Alison + Tree, Managua, Nicaragua, 2017

Today was spent in the darkroom working on her photographs, and was able to print this one. I was a little younger than Alison when I lived in the same city, over 45 years ago. We left because an earthquake destroyed our home, and I returned because it is also my homeland.

My cousins were kind enough to help me with my travels, and reintroduce me to our country. One of my cousins allowed a trusted employee to take me around, and the first visit we made was to his son's neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital. There we met Alison, and instantly knew that she was a star.

It was more than her beauty, it was the way she responded with curiosity to our visit. I had a feeling that she would speak to the camera honestly, and so we asked permission to make her portrait. The family was wonderful, yet found it comical that we would be interested in making her photograph.

Nevertheless we made her photographs over a few visits, always having to wait until the end of the afternoon for the softest of light. When her eyes were comfortable she made the best of it. She was magnificent, as this portrait surely demonstrates.

Alison will see this post, for her mother and aunt are my friends on FB. I hope that this portrait pleases her, and that she sees how much people adore her beauty and spirit. 


Instagram

Note: Frame exposed with a Hasselblad 503 CW/180 mm lens combination.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Jaedon + Dry Lake Bed, El Mirage, California, 2017


This is our spot and to where we have gone for the past three years. Every time plans are made for California Jaedon is included... and every time she is asked she responds without hesitation.

Just like our first year, when we began our drive out to El Mirage we did so with snacks provided by Jaedon. She has always done so and has always thought of both of us, rather than just herself. She of course brought a variety of clothing for our afternoon, one which started at least an hour early so that we could find the perfect locations. This is the kind of acceptance necessary to create timeless images.

Our collaboration on this afternoon lasted until the last ray of sunlight disappeared into the desert landscape. It took us at least twenty minutes to gather ourselves, to allow our energy to calm down enough for the ride back into Los Angeles. It was yet another memorable chapter, one for which I am eternally grateful.


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Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Ilford 100 Delta film.

Headshot of Nica, Outskirts of Granada, Nicaragua, 2017


This beautiful city was also a place my father had traveled to in order to find customers for his textiles. When we arrived I immediately fell in love with it, and the people living on the outskirts of the small city.

From the small burrito store in the center of town to the grand square, the food was beyond tasty. My mind kept thinking if my father had walked these same streets, if he sat in the same square for lunch.

When we arrived we drove around the rim of the lake looking for communities to document. We found a young family earlier, and photographed them in front of the home which they tend for the owners. The family told us that there were many families a kilometer or so up the road, and so we pushed onward to the local school in search.

That is when we noticed a girl with the most incredible hair. Immediately we stopped and walked over to say hello. The family was so receptive, a preview of how we were to be treated in our travels throughout Nicaragua. They were so warm and spoke with us in such an honest, kind manner.

We spoke at length about their lives, how they work well before sunrise and do so in the muddy waters nearby. They do so just to be able to feed their children, and live a most humble life. They live without running water, proper electricity, medical care, bathrooms... while their meals come on a day to day basis.

This was in extreme contrast to the town square which was less than a fifteen minute drive, and of course to communities where all of the above is commonplace. Such is this young girl's life, such is the reality she faces daily.

Yet they treated us as equals, invited us back the very next day and embraced as as family. The people of Nicaragua are beyond comparison, and I for one am proud to call myself a Nica.


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Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW/100 mm combination.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Dos Estrellas, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


Este último verano fue excepcional, gracias a un grupo de bailarines nuevos en mi trabajo. Como siempre, comenzó con Gysleda Virginia De La Barca Vega, y continuó con Luis Miguel Jorge Benítez y sus amigos. ¡Gracias a estos dos hermosos artistas, hemos establecido una dulce colaboración entre la danza y la fotografía para el próximo verano!

Lo que hace que esto sea aún más maravilloso es que hablamos la noche anterior para organizar nuestros planes para la mañana siguiente. Cuando se trata de tales artistas, se necesita poco ... solo un espacio y la hora.

Nos decidimos por este espacio que estaba a menos de una cuadra de mi habitación. Tenía el interior más increíble, con suficiente espacio desde los marcos de las ventanas hasta el primer apartamento. Las ventanas faltaban, y la luz entró sin obstrucciones.

Cada bailarín fue fotografiado únicamente, y luego trabajaron juntos para hacer algunas imágenes fabulosas también. Me siento honrado de ser incluido en este círculo de profesionales y espero con ansias el próximo año, ¡cuando crearemos mucho más!

Nota: esta imagen se realizó con una Fujifilm X-T2 y una lente de 35 mm.

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Two Stars, Havana, Cuba, 2018

This last summer was an exceptional one, thanks to a group of dancers new to my work. As always it began with Gysleda, and continued with Miguel and his friends. Thanks to these two beautiful artists, we have established a sweet collaboration between dance and photography for next summer!

What makes this even more marvelous is that we talked just the evening prior to arrange our plans for the next morning. When it comes to such artists, little is needed... only a space and the hour.

We decided on this space which was less than a block away from my room. It had the most incredible interior, with enough space from the window frames to the first apartment. The windows were actually lacking, and so the light entered without obstruction.

Each dancer was photographed solely, and then they worked togehter to make some fabulous images as well. I am honored to be included in this circle of professionals and look forward to next year when we will create much more! 


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Note: This image was made with a Fujifilm X-T2, and a 35 mm lens.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Merve + Rebar, Izmir, Turkey, 2013


After dance class we walked over to a construction site nearby for a photographic session. The rest of the university campus was busy, so this was secluded enough for us to have the privacy to do so.

I jumped to the ground in front of the concrete floor, while Merve and her friends stayed above. Each took their turn with this grouping of rebar as the clouds passed by quickly behind.

One dancer presented herself as a prisoner behind the bars, while Merve stood tall and reached beyond them to the viewers below. It was a marvelous gesture and one which will be remembered for as long as I live.

I do hope to return to Turkey in the next two years, to revisit these dear friends, and to once again document this beautiful country.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Nurhayat + Metal Rod, İzmir, Turkey, 2013


Last night I happened upon a post on her IG feed and it inspired me to look back at our collaboration five years ago. While we visited her university at first to document a dance program, it became clear to me immediately that Nurhayat was more than just a dancer.

From dance to the visual arts to music, she exuded creativity period. So one afternoon whenmy colleagues were finished with their dance program, Nurhayat and her friends came with me to an adjacent, empty lot for a photographic session.

This was then she picked up this metal rod and went on to create with it. In her hands the metal rod was magical, and it seemed that it bent to her will. Her eyes were closed for a few exposures, and one could sense the intensity of her emotion as she moved from one position to another.

Nurhayat and her friends will always have my sincerest appreciation, for they are my brothers and sisters in neighboring Turkey.


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Needle + Thread, Sewing Center, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018


These hands holding a needle and a spool of thread represent to me the hope of the sewing centers. One may believe that a sewing center for a dozen girls is a drop in the ocean, but for these girls it is an incredible opportunity.

It is a chance to learn a skill. When class begins they run for the sewing machines. While we provide a small budget for fabric, they also bring their own patterns and with pride make dresses for their families.

They are learning to make their own clothes, as well as clothes for others in the villages. With the possibility of local schools in need of uniforms, along with private schools overseas, the possibilities are endless.

For these frames I asked one of the older students to come outside with a needle and a spool of thread. These students know me well enough, and such a question while strange to most is accepted with a sense of humor in this school. She came along and was kind enough to allow me to expose these two images.

Her fingers held onto the needle and spool so tightly that her fingertips were so light in color. We helped her to feel more comfortable and then she relaxed her grip, allowing the color of her fingertips to look like the rest of her fingers. This is how important the center is to her, and to the rest of her friends! 


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Note: These two frames were exposed with a Hasselblad 503 CW/180 mm lens combination.

Let's come together and help support these centers!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Girl at Play, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, 2018


My photography in Lebanon is different than my photography in other countries, for my family lives here also. The contrasts are as striking as the similarities. The children I photograph speak the same language as my family, yet they are from another country. In the morning I may be with my family in the town and then photographing in the camps located below in the valley.

There is the contrast in religions, the difference in nationalities... while there is the similarity in ethnicity, in culture. It is a fascinating experience and one perhaps which has been taken for granted. Next year that changes, for I will be spending more time with both families, one blood and one photographic.

Speaking of culture, on the morning this image was made the girls decided to imitate what they see on their television screens. The films of India have made their way to Lebanon in a dramatic fashion. The children watch the films with fascination, and know the popular songs by heart. They even recognized some of the songs on my phone, videos of girls in Uttar Pradesh performing popular pieces from Bollywood.

So after an hour of formal portraits, the girls decided to dress up and have some fun. They changed scarves and pulled jewelry out of nowhere it seemed. The energy level during this phase of photography was much different, more vibrant. They exchanged scarves and helped each other with styling.

It was also chaotic, almost too much on the mother of the tent in which we were photographing. She endured as much as she could, and then came up with a reason to end it all as the situation was almost out of control!


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Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Letters + Chalkboard, Shamli District, India, 2018


Thanks to a generous circle of friends here on FB these letters were written onto the wall by an entire class. Each young girl walked to the wall and wrote two to three letters. It was a team effort, and then the class was dismissed. Portraiture is my thing usually, however such a photograph had to me made!

Nirvanavan Foundation opened the school earlier this year within the local madrasa, thanks to the cooperation of Imdadullah Nadvi Nadvi and Kari Shokeen. In addition to the Koranic classes provided at the madrasa, now close to 100 girls are sitting down to the Uttar Pradesh curriculum which includes Hindi, Urdu, English and more.

At least once a week they also sit down to draw, and paint. This is something completely new and is embraced by the students wholeheartedly. What surprised me pleasantly even more so was the men's reaction to the art... they sincerely enjoyed it.

The school is doing well, and we are looking to support the progress. I will be reaching out to the present donors, as well as embracing those looking to join this movement. Anyone interested please do let me know.. all information will be provided of course.


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Note: This image was exposed using a Hasselblad V system.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Young Student + Tree, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018


For those of us involved with the existing school in the village in Fatehpur, this young student's portrait is being presented. She attends classes in an adjacent village. The headmaster of this school is doing wonderful work, and all children from the village attend without fees.

The amazing part is that more girls than boys attend, something quite different in my experience covering this region. In addition the headmaster has allowed us to photograph the students without asking for anything in return. He always greets us with a smile and hot chai, as well as soft drinks.

We arrived this morning to photograph more of the girls, since the school has too many students for one session. This background just caught my attention and the girls had fun with the tree for their portraits. This young girl especially took my breath away with her smile, her joy and sweetness. She was anything but shy!

My hope is that we can help further establish our first school and move forward with more in the region... any and all help is most appreciated. Look forward to the posts in the near future!


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Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Una Mañana con Laura Rivero Perez, La Habana, Cuba, 2018.


El verano pasado en la isla fue una revelación, verdaderamente el comienzo de mi colaboración con tantos bailarines increíbles como Laura. Ella y su amigo me llamaron la atención gracias a Luis Miguel. Hablamos la noche anterior y nos encontramos con ella y su amigo en sus hogares mucho antes del amanecer.

Llegamos a este edificio justo cuando salía el sol. Hablamos un poco sobre el propósito detrás del trabajo y estábamos listos bastante rápido. La luz del sol era suave y fuerte, dependiendo de las nubes que pasaban. Esto nos dio la oportunidad de trabajar más tiempo y de crear imágenes con diferentes condiciones.

Laura fue maravillosa, actuó para la lente sin dudarlo. Sus expresiones eran naturales y honestas. A lo largo de la sesión, compartió su gratitud por el momento, una mujer verdaderamente humilde con talentos increíbles. Espero con ansias el próximo verano, cuando volveremos a colaborar, ¡y esta vez no estaremos esperando hasta la semana pasada!

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A Morning with Laura, La Habana, Cuba, 2018

This past summer on the island was a revelation, truly the beginning of my collaboration with so many incredible dancers such as Laura. She and her friend came to my attention thanks to Luis Miguel. We spoke the evening before and met her and her friend at their homes well before sunrise.

We arrived at this building just as the sun came up. We spoke a bit regarding the purpose behind the work, and were ready pretty quickly. The sunlight was both soft and strong, depending on the passing clouds. This gave us the chance to work longer, and to make imags with varying conditions.

Laura was wonderful, she performed for the lens without hesitation. Her expressions were natural, and honest. Throughout the session she shared her gratitude for the moment, a truly humble woman with incredible talents. I look forward to next summer when we will collaborate once again, and this time we will not be waiting until the last week!


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Note: This image was made with a Fuji X-T3, along with the 35 mm F2 lens.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Three Faces of Jordan, Los Angeles, California, 2016


This past week thoughts of California came into mind, then just today they turned to my session with Jordan. It is getting a little cold to do photography in the desert, so plans have changed to next Spring. In anticipation of next year this series is being shared.

Her features are only matched by her humility, a rare combination in my experience. She is a sister to the girls in my work, and offers herself to the lens without reservation. She has the capacity to change dramatically within minutes, from her hair to her expressions. It is a remarkable talent.

This series was made while the wind blew across the dry lake bed. It was a very difficult setting in which to perform, yet she did so without complaining. Jordan endured and helped us create timeless images from our very first session together! 


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Note: These images were exposed with a Hasselblad V system.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Anays y Yudel, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


Como es tradición, mi último día en Cuba es mi día con Anays. Para este verano incluimos a Anyel y las telas mágicas de Yudel. Usamos este increíble espacio para nuestra sesión y llegamos justo cuando el sol estaba saliendo. La mezcla de nubes y sol permitió una variedad de condiciones de iluminación.

El único consejo proporcionado era usar la luz, y nada más. Mi preferencia es permitir que cada una presente su arte, su historia, sin mucho de mí. Una vez que el sol salió y los vestidos estaban en su lugar, comenzamos. La idea de que el fotógrafo puede concentrarse en la fotografía, mientras que la persona que se encuentra frente a la lente se revela a sí misma, es un placer diferente.

Cualquiera que esté familiarizado con mi trabajo en Cuba conocerá a esta joven y mi más profunda admiración por ella. Ella fue y sigue siendo una inspiración para mí y para mi fotografía.

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As is tradition my last day in Cuba is my day with Anays. For this summer we included Anyel and the magical fabrics of Yudel. We used this incredible space for our session and arrived just as the sun was rising. The mix of clouds and sun allowed for a variety of lighting conditions.

The only advice provided was to use the light, and nothing else. My preference is to allow each to present their art, their story, without much from me. Once the sun came up and the dresses were in place, we began. The idea that the photographer can concentrate on the photography while the person in front of the lens reveals themselves is a treat unlike any.

Anyone familiar with my work in Cuba will know this young woman, and my deepest admiration for her. She was and continues to be an inspiration to me and my photography.


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Note: This image was made with a Fuji XT-2, thanks to the guidance of Jef Janis at Dodd!