Monday, February 2, 2015

Friend, San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, Summer of 2014

Every time I look at this man's portrait confusion sets in. Every time we met in person the surroundings seemed surreal to me. Just when I thought I was in India, someone spoke Spanish and brought me back to reality. When we sat in his home, the walls were covered with Hebrew script yet reggaeton blasted us from the adjacent apartments.

I met this man when Alejandro and I were looking for new faces in the countryside. We decided to spend much of our time outside of the city, looking for another perspective. It was then when I saw this man crossing the street on his bicycle. I was dismayed, but Alejandro missed seeing him. 

It took us a few minutes but we spotted him as he was selling a sweet bread made by his family. We talked for a few minutes and immediately felt the most incredible energy in his presence. Peaceful is perhaps the best adjective to describe that feeling, yet it was much more.

He allowed us to make a quick portrait and then invited us to go back to his home where he would meet us later. He trusted us that much. So we went to his home as directed by this good man and waited for him to return. His daughter and wife let us in without question, and went on to describe their way of living to us. I was completely fascinated, sat mostly silent taking it all in.

This portrait was from our second session, the more formal one. We met at his home once again, and walked with his family about two blocks to an open space. The neighbors were almost as curious as we were, even though they were used to seeing them on a daily basis. The older folks in general looked out way almost disapprovingly, while the younger generation mostly made up of young girls looked on in a more gentle manner.

When we returned to the apartment we were treated to a documentary featuring their family, and their unique faith. It was made by a visiting Indian filmmaker, studying film at the university next to their town. It just so happened that she also ran across this man on the street and was moved so much as to make a short film about his family and faith as well.

Note: This portrait was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.

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