Havana Cuba

“The meaning of life is the experience that people have of each other.”

Jean Paul Sartre

After forty years of photography and national awards as a photojournalist I was looking to challenge myself. I wanted something different. Instead of the U.S or Europe I wanted to photograph some place less familiar.

A photojournalist rarely has the luxury of returning to a place time after time. He or she only has the light, place and time for a short while. During the first half of my life I learned that it requires both discipline and judgment to capture the precise moment.

As so often happens fate stepped in and I was offered the opportunity to travel to Cuba on a cultural visa to photograph the country and its people. I went with an open mind. With no agendas, I intended just to experience this forbidden island and let it wash over me. I wanted this opportunity to understand this strange place so close to our shores. I hoped my photographs would capture the unique culture and spirit of the place before the borders opened and tourism caused it to change.

I was stunned by what I found. The dreariness I saw when I first walked the streets of Old Havana disappeared as I listened to the music and laughter that poured out through the open windows. Beautiful children smiled at me as they played with makeshift cardboard toys. I saw a dignity and simplicity in the lives of the people with few material possessions but an enormous pride in the culture.

I left Cuba a different person. This special place, where time has moved so slowly, touched me in a way no other place has. I hope that viewing my photographs will enable you to see what I saw… before it’s gone forever.

Bud Hines

© 2008 bud hines