Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Anays + El Campo, Campo Florido, Cuba, 2017

El año pasado tuve el honor una vez más de documentar los talentos indescriptibles de Anays Diz Pe, con la ayuda de mis queridos hermanos Alejandro Peña Gutiérrez y Arley. ¡Saber que estas tres personas me estarán esperando en dos semanas es suficiente, sabiendo que están esperando repetir tal sesión, estas dos semanas pasarán aún más rápido!

En el Oldsmobile de 1951 de Arley, volveremos al campo una vez más en busca de esos espacios, escenarios en los que Anays pueda actuar. Hay muy pocos en mi trabajo que puedan hacerlo, y que pueden hacerlo de una manera tan efímera. Le pedimos permiso al propietario de esta casa, le informamos a Anays que todo está listo y la vimos hacer suya esta casa.

Ella nació para ser fotografiada y para ser escuchada. Por mi parte, la escucho perfectamente y, junto con Alejandro Peña Gutiérrez, estaremos listos con nuestras cámaras para sus actuaciones de este verano.


Last year I had the honor once again to document the indescribable talents of Anays, with the help of my dearest brothers Alejandro and Arley. Knowing that these three people will be waiting for me in two weeks is enough, knowing that they are waiting to repeat such a session will make these two weeks pass by even more quickly!

In Arley's 1951 Oldsmobile we will head out to the countryside once again in search of such homes, stages for Anays to perform. There are very few in my work who are able to do so, and who can do so in such an efforltess manner. We asked the owner of this home for permission, let Anays know that all is ready, and watched her make this home her own.

She was born to be photographed, and to be heard. I for one hear her perfectly and, along with Alejandro, will be ready with our cameras for her performances this summer.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW/60 mm combination and scanned for preview purposes only through the negative sleeve.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Syrian Girl + Garden, Zahle, Lebanon, 2017

She is as striking as her predecessors in her camp, as beautiful as any other in this world. Her homeland is in distress, and her life in Lebanon is anything but stable. Yet she does what she can to help her family, and endures with such grace.

On my second day to her camp she was helping her mother with the purchase of some vegetables from a visiting truck. She caught my attention right away, but her presence was missing as we had our first session.

As the third day arrived it seemed that she would never come, and then she approached us with a smile. She might have seen the photographs in her friends' hands from the day before, or just the commotion from the photography. Regardless she allowed me to make her portrait twice, in the shade and in direct sunlight.

She was silent the entire time, but spoke volumes through her expressions. My hope is that this portrait does justice to her spirit, and that she allows me once again to make her portrait tomorrow.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Young Girl + Tree, 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, the older sister to the one in this frame. 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.

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Nica + La Bicicleta, El Campo, Nicaragua, 2017

En esta mañana fuimos a buscar una comunidad y paramos para fotografiar esta finca. Hablamos con el propietario y él nos dio su permiso. Cuando estábamos preparando la cámara, este increíble hombre se detuvo para conversar con nosotros.

Tenía más de setenta años y aún tenía la energía de un hombre con la mitad de su edad. Todos los días iba en su bicicleta a la carretera principal en busca de comestibles, y todos los días estaba levantado antes del amanecer para trabajar en su finca.

Al principio era un poco tímido, pero luego, por supuesto, le pedí su retrato. Él estuvo de acuerdo con una sonrisa, y se quedó justo en el mismo lugar para esta imagen. El sol salió durante unos minutos y tuvimos la suerte de tener luz ideal. Cuando terminamos, nos invitó a su pueblo a fotografiar a otras familias, y aceptamos su invitación al día siguiente.

La gente de Nicaragua es amable y tiene la forma más bella de aceptar visitantes. Tengo muchas ganas de visitar su pueblo una vez más y de hacer verdaderos retratos de su comunidad.


On this morning we went to look for a community, and had stopped to photograph this farm. We spoke with the owner and he gave us his permission. As we were setting up the camera this incredible man stopped to have a conversation with us.

He was well into his seventies yet had the energy of a man half his age. Every day he rode his bicycle to the main road for groceries, and every day he was up well before sunrise to work his farm.

I was a little shy at first, but then of course asked him for his portrait. He agreed with a smile, and stood right in the same spot for this image. The sun had come up for a few minutes and we were lucky enough to have ideal light. After we were finished he invited us to his village to photograph other families, and we accepted his invitation the very next day.

The people of Nicaragua are kind, and have the most beautiful way of accepting visitors. I look forward to visiting his village once again, and to truly making portraits of his community.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW and a 100 mm C lens.

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Familiar Face, Small Madrasa, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018

We have seen each other before, almost one year to the date. She has been photographed by me before, and her voice is as beautiful as the color of her shawl. Before her madrasa was located in a field between two villages... and now it has moved to one of those villages.

Behind her is the wall of her open classroom. The beautiful fields which surround her village can be seen through the small openings. She, along with her friends, attend religious classes only in her village. She is, according to local thought, too old to continue her formal education... and is to remain close to home at her age.

Nirvana Bodhisattva and Nirvanavan Foundation is working hard in an adjacent village to supply that formal education within the madrasa environment. We witnessed the opening of the first school in this vein, and are happy to report that true progress is being made thanks to Imdadullah Nadvi Nadvi and Kari Shokeen, as well as the dedicated teachers.

We hope to extend such a program to her madrasa, and have a most wonderful headmaster with whom to collaborate in the future. She and her friends deserve so much more of course, and we will do what we can on our end to honor their wishes.

Last year when she and her friends were standing in the back of the truck and waiting for the driver, she began singing so sweetly. It took me a second to locate the source of that sound, but when I did she has the biggest smile on her face. I do hope to see her once again next year, and to see progress being made in her village as well.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Jasmine + El Mirage, Los Angeles, California, 2016

Two years ago my session with Jasmine occurred in the most spontaneous of ways. We had communicated through email earlier but had yet to set up a date to collaborate. Then the day before my drive from northern to Southern California we decided to meet at El Mirage the next afternoon.

We had never met before nor had we reviewed the outfits. The anticipation on my way down almost drove me crazy. When we met she was as sweet as in the messages, and was more than prepared for our session. The sun was just perfect but the wind had picked up a bit. Nonetheless Jasmine performed flawlessly for the lens and for each frame she gave it her all.

She embraced the wind and used it to her advantage. Her hair was just perfect and her movements in line with the wind. Even more amazing she withstood the dust that was in both of our faces. The images we made on that day will remain long after we are gone, and are a testament to her spirit on that beautiful afternoon.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Una Niña del Campo, Guanabacoa, Cuba, 2017

Uno de los aspectos más increíbles de Cuba es que justo cuando crees que has visto la más hermosa, otra cara hermosa aparece frente a la cámara. Habíamos planeado fotografiar a dos primas que vivían en las afueras de La Habana y llegamos a su casa para planear la sesión. Cuando llegamos, había dos personas más esperando, amigas del campo que habían venido con sus padres para visitar.

Su curiosidad fue, por supuesto, en la pantalla, ya que vieron un hombre norteamericana con sus amigas sobre el día siguiente. Cuando se les preguntó estaban tan contentas de ser incluidas y también querían ponerse trajes de ballet, al igual que sus amigas.

La sesión fue planeada para la tarde si tuvimos la suerte de tener sol. Cuando llegamos, tuvimos sol y todas las niñas estaban listas. Sus presentaciones fueron perfectas, cada chica con su propia característica. Salimos a la carretera y encontramos otra salida, ya que casi todas las salidas en Cuba son perfectas para la fotografía.

Había, por supuesto, cuatro niñas, así que tres tuvieron que esperar mientras uno era fotografiado. Sin embargo, fueron muy pacientes y me enorgullecieron de ser su fotógrafo. Esta joven se fue al campo al día siguiente, pero pudimos tener las fotografías impresas para ellos antes de que se fueran.

Con suerte, visitarán a sus amigas una vez más este mes de julio y ¡ojalá podamos hacerlo todo de nuevo!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Karla + Nanda, El Campo, La Habana, Cuba, 2017

Cuando alguien me pregunta: ¿por qué el trabajo en Cuba es diferente?

La respuesta es fácil para mí: es una colaboración igual entre fotógrafo y modelo. Los jóvenes modelos están completamente involucrados en las decisiones, desde la ubicación hasta la ropa y el tema. Por lo general preguntamos, ¿la playa o el campo o la ciudad? Algunas veces las modelos nos permiten elegir, algunas veces ellos deciden sobre la ubicación.

Si bien mi preferencia por la ropa es oscura y atemporal, para resaltar el modelo en lugar de la ropa, sus pensamientos son muy bienvenidos. Alejandra y Karla son maravillosas, mujeres jóvenes ... y es un placer fotografiarlas.

Esta mañana salimos al campo mucho antes de que saliera el sol. Salimos temprano para llegar a tiempo para el amanecer. En nuestro camino notamos que estaba nublado, pero continuó en nuestro camino. Decidimos que se realizarían fotografías, con o sin luz solar.

Tuvimos la suerte de tener sol temprano y nubes más tarde. Esto nos permitió fotografiar durante unas horas, en lugar de solo una hora. Esta casa fue encontrada mientras conducíamos, y el dueño fue increíble. Le encantó la idea e inmediatamente nos permitió usar la casa para nuestra sesión. Preguntamos si podíamos regresar y él también estuvo de acuerdo.

¡Espero ver a estas dos jóvenes en un mes y dirigirme a más zonas rurales, además de explorar la ciudad!


When someone asks me: why is the work in Cuba different?

The answer is easy for me: it is an equal collaboration between photographer and model. The young models are completely involved in the decisions, from the location to the clothing to the theme. We usually ask, the beach or the countryside or the city? Sometimes the models allow us to choose, sometimes they decide about the location.

While dark and timeless are my preferences for clothing, in order to highlight the model rather than the clothing, their thoughts are most welcomed. Alejandra and Karla are both wonderful, young women... and a pleasure to photograph.

On this morning we drove out to the countryside well before the sun had risen. We left early in order to arrive on time for sunrise. On our way we noticed that it was cloudy, but continued on our way. We decided that photographs would be made, with or without sunshine.

We were fortunate to have sunshing early, and clouds later. This allowed us to photograph for a few hours, rather than just an hour. This house was found as we were driving back, and the owner was amazing. He loved the idea and immediately allowed us to use the house for our session. We asked if we could come back and he agreed as well.

I look forward to seeing both of these young women in a month, and to heading out to more of the countryside, as well as exploring the city!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hermanas + 1951 Oldsmobile, La Habana, Cuba, 2017

Dos de las mas importantes para mi, aqui están dos hermanas después de una sesión de fotografía por la mañana. La mas grande es estudiante en la Escuela de Ballet Nacional, y la pequeña siempre quiere venir con nosotros para hacer fotos!

Conocí a esta familia cuando caminaba por la calle un día, ya que su madre estaba vendiendo vegetables de su casa. Desde ese día, nos hemos conectado en innumerables sesiones e hicimos algunas imágenes eternas. Lo que es aún más impresionante es que su hermano es uno de los bailarines más prometedores en la escuela, todo un logro en realidad.

En un mes, con suerte, visitaremos la playa y tendremos otra sesión ... ¡con un helado en el camino a casa!

Nota: Esta fotografía fue hecha por las chicas, con la Sony RX100M3.


Sisters + 1951 Oldsmobile, Havana, Cuba, 2017

Two of the most important ones for me, here are two sisters after a morning photography session. The older one is a student at the National Ballet School, and the little one always wants to come with us to take pictures!

I met this family when I was walking down the street one day, as her mother was selling vegetables from her house. Since that day, we have connected in countless sessions and made some eternal images. What is even more impressive is that her brother is one of the most promising dancers in the school, quite an achievement in reality.

In a month, hopefully, we will visit the beach and have another session ... with ice cream on the way home!

Note: This photograph was made by the girls, with the Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Film in Bags, Silver Springs, Maryland, 2018

The film from my time in India is in the most capable hands of @dodgechrome and my dear brother Dave! The excitement is building, hoping to see the images next week!


Note: Ironically this image was made with an iPhone.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Liliam + Corner, Guanabacoa, Cuba, 2017

Summer on the island is filled with familiar places, faces and memories. Such is this portrait of wonderful Liliam, one model from the school run by Gysleda Virginia De La Barca Vega. Every week we visit the school and every week we see something different.

That morning we headed out to Guanabacoa very early, along with Noel Castellano. Both of them woke up well before sunrise just to be ready for us, as we picked them up from their homes. Noel was kind enough to meet us on the street so that we could make it out on time.

The sun came up very strong this morning, without a hint of clouds. Thus we worked quickly before it was too much for the models. Liliam was quite brave and did her best regardless, as in this portrait. We tried to find some spaced which allowed for some shade, yet looked for the small spots of sunshine to illuminate her light eyes.

I look forward to this summer and hope that we can collaborate once again. In less than six weeks hopefully we will meet once again at the school, and see the new faces all over again!

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100III mounted alongside a Hasselblad V system.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Anays + A Night in Havana, Cuba, 2017

Here she is, a few minutes before she made our portrait as a team. We drove all over Havana looking for places to photograph, and Alejandrospotted this scene immediately. We turned around and found that it worked perfectly, so we unpacked and had a spontaneous session in the street with Anays.

The bulb was as strong as in any stage light, and happened to be on for that time only. A few minutes after we finished it turned off, and the security person guarding the parking lot closed his shop.

We had a great time and gained much inspiration from the experience. This year much more research will be done in looking for such spaces, and making use of them with such talent! 

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100 III.