Sunday, June 7, 2009

Email de Irina, Havana, Cuba, 2009

Earlier today an email arrives from across a wall, one that has been in place for the last fifty years. It speaks of a time when perhaps we will sit down at the same table, have a meal as family and speak the same language of humanity. My friend's name is Elina. She lives in Havana, Cuba. She tells me of her family, of her sister's daughter that had been photographed by me last year. Her niece's name is Irina, but her family calls her Irinita. She is almost finished with school and is getting ready for summer break. They will be spending time with each other in the family's hometown this summer. She will be taking news of my photography to her family, to share with them the faces from other countries, other cultures. She will show them the faces that are their sisters and brothers from India and Kenya, as well as Lebanon and Senegal. She believes in a future that belongs to us all. In her own words: 'Eso de comer juntos y compartir eso es lo mejor que se pueda imaginar para unos amigos y familias, compartir ese momento si yo me lo imagino muy lindo entre nosotros, compartir luego de la cena sus videos y fotos.' This friendship goes back to a single moment one year ago. A group of parents and their daughters are waiting outside a dance school, waiting for the previous group of girls to finish with their lessons. I am also waiting for a family to arrive nearby for a photographic session. It seems like a perfect opportunity, the sun is just right and the building across the school is reflecting the sun perfectly. With my limited Spanish, I begin talking to small groups of parents, asking their permission to photograph their daughters. While only some agree, all listen openly to my story. The very first girl to be photographed is Irinita, with the others following in her footsteps. Her trust in me, as well as her mother's trust in the work, is immense. We will one day have dinner together under the same roof.

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