Friday, February 6, 2015

Ballerina + Beach, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, Summer of 2014

Earlier this evening I spent two hours listening to the musical stylings of my dear brother Mazi, the man without whom Cuba would have never been. His taste in music is without parallel, and the museum has certainly rarely experienced such sonic truth.

The crowd was glamorous, yet something was missing. People walked about with refined features, in perfectly assembled fabrics, yet nothing reminded me of what has been shown to me as real through my work. Very few people smiled outside the presence of their few friends, and most did their best to divert their eyes from direct contact with those unknown to them.

The place felt as cold and hard as the weather and floor respectively.

So I left early and came home to recover my sense of what is real in this world, and stumbled across this image of the incomparable one. Without hesitation she presents herself honestly to the world, asks for nothing in return and helps me to create images worthy of any museum. She throws herself down onto the sand, lets the water soak her outfit… all in the spirit of adding beauty to a world sorely lacking such at times.

I have known her for seven years now, and have fallen in love with her and her sisters on the island. Unlike countless at the museum this evening, she bears her soul for the world to see and fears nothing in doing so. While the water can erode the hardest of surfaces, and sand can get into the tiniest of crevices, neither stands a chance against her determination and true humanity.

I remember this image like it was made yesterday, and hope that the decades to come never take this memory away from my mind. She pleaded once again to come with us on this morning, even though we were photographing two older models for the morning. We of course were delighted to have her in our company, and the models included her in the session naturally and selflessly.

The sun was a bit strong by the time we started this roll, so she was asked to produce abstract movements without showing her face to the lens. This is one example from that roll, with the other images just as worthy of being presented. Her head and hands were in the direction of the rising sun, paying homage to what makes this work at all possible. 

I can now go to sleep tonight with balance restored to my sense of the world, and owe everything to her and those like her in my work.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/50 mm FLE combination onto Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.

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