Photographing Cuba: Beyond Expectations
The Image Flow is back from our second (perhaps annual) workshops in Cuba. There were new experiences, old friends, and of course a night at the Tropicana. The group came home exhilarated and stimulated and with a portfolio of work even beyond our own expectations. Stuart Schwartz fills us in.
We wanted to build on the success of our first photography workshop in Cuba in April 2015, and this past February organized two more back to back, Cuba: Behind Closed Doors and The Havana Highway: Rum, Cars & Cigars. It was particularly satisfying to us as organizers that all six participants from last April signed up again, and we added to that some great new faces, including two old friends of mine who joined us all the way from Switzerland.
Both sessions turned out to be just ideal, from student participation to the variety of shooting opportunities. Of course there were glitches, as there will be when organizing a group of people—especially in Cuba—but it’s a testament to both our local guides Ramses and Alex and the go-with-the-flow attitude of the group that no matter what came up, we made the best of it. Ramses Batista, a renowned photographer in his own right, was our man on the ground; he’d make a call, and all of a sudden we were in a private apartment shooting portraits of a fascinating individual. Often, those little glitches served to make our experience even more authentic and unique.
Our Cuban Family: Seven Unforgettable Days & Nights in Havana
Stuart Schwartz and Jock McDonald led a group of American photographers to Cuba for a week of shooting. The week started in Miami. Stuart Schwartz and Jock McDonald met their six workshop participants in a hotel the night before the flight to Cuba. The group spanned more than five decades in age and as many shooting styles.
“My chief concern was, are these people going to get along?” says Stuart. “It was a big cross-section of participants, but it was a harmonious group of people, they were a family. It was a family trip.”