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Photo Essay: The Real Cuba

My trip to Cuba in May 2016 was the turning point in my photography, largely because I had chosen to attempt to take my hobby to the next level by booking a photography holiday with Creative Escapes. 11 days of traveling with a pro-photographer, hands on tuition as well as learning about the different styles of photography pushed me to go beyond the usual cliché travel snaps to try and capture the essence of the country instead. I had always wanted to do this in Cuba Рthere is no greater place on earth to shoot with the colours, sun, music, crumbling facades, retro cars, (retro everything) and amazing people, all offering photo opportunities at every corner. Most of all, I wanted to see Cuba before everything changed and it opened up to the world, especially the Americans. One week after my trip, in fact, the first cruise ship from the USA since the severance of trade relations started, arrived in Cuba!

I have been fortunate enough to have traveled a lot in Latin America and while all countries are unified with a certain Latin culture, Cuba felt truly unique, even within the region. For a little Caribbean Island, with a population the size of London, it is quite amazing how strong a cultural influance Cuba has, especially in music. The best part of Cuba for me was seeing everyday life and how things are different (or not) to what I know as my everyday. With that in mind, comes this collection of photos of The Real Cuba.

Cuban Carwash

This is my favourite shot from the trip, and my best photo to date (even being selected as a staff pick by Creative Escapes! You know you are in Cuba when you see your first classic fifties car, and even though they are everywhere, it is impossible to tire of them. There is no greater sign of the US embargo than these giant gas guzzlers still being driven around (with no seat belts or carbon emission limits!) We were on our way out of Havana when I spotted this carwash and I asked our driver to stop and turn around. What I loved was the fact that this could be a carwash anywhere in the world but yet this image and the classic car screams Cuba.

Cuban Carwash

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