Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Claudia + Hasselblad, La Habana, Cuba, July 21, 2013

It was all her idea. In a moment of fun she grabbed the digital camera and kindly asked to be photographed with the camera in hand, and I almost did so. What stopped me was the thought of using the analog camera to photograph the digital one!

Seeing that I had two analog cameras in the bag, I asked her to hold the second while the first one was used to photograph this image.

There is nothing that Claudia can do that fails to impress me deeply. Her gentle demeanor and way with the camera, even the one in her hands, speak volumes. 

There is something about making a photograph of a stranger, a fleeting moment in the street perhaps. Much of my work has this quality, faces never again appearing in front of my lens. Then there is Claudia above, a stranger once and now someone entirely different. The gift she has given me is the permission to return year after year to make her portrait. 

This collaboration has taken on a quality all its own and really defines photography for me. While the single image is priceless, a series of images over the span of years and perhaps decades represents an entirely different perspective. The reaction upon seeing me return is one of confidence, of kindness and of love. She knows that the reason for my return to the island is to document the changes in her life, and perhaps the consistencies as well.

She is more valuable than a single exposure, she and her compatriots on the island mean the world to me… and this is beyond clear to her. She knows this enough to pick up my camera, and this shows on her face in the portrait above.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film with a white wall as the background. Natural light only was used on the beautiful island of Cuba.

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