Cubanos

Cuba 2004

When I landed in La Havana, Cuba was facing its umpteenth emergency: hurricane Charley had just forced the Government to evacuate 100,000 people. The island was lost in the deepest darkness.  The story of these photographs begins that night. During the taxi ride from the airport I was robbed and lost what was dearest to me - my camera.  After a couple of hours, I met Marta, Maria, Jessica and Manuel: a Cuban family that rented out rooms in the centre of old Havana. That same night, Manuel proposed to lend me his camera - an old Olympus OM1 - for the duration of my stay. I accepted, incredulous.

That night had a decisive impact on my photos. In a few hours I experienced two feelings deeply rooted in Cuban culture: deprivation and solidarity. Life in Cuba is not easy. Every city lacks basic services: electricity and water in particular. Everywhere, though, people tend to face their difficulties with equanimity, without letting resignation perturb their tranquil faces. There is a lack of everything in Cuba. But there exists a strong fabric made of people, women, men, the elderly, children who survive every day on their own wits, as if it were an instinct, without succumbing to the unhappiness that the weight of their needs could justify.