Cuba and community

I’ve been writing about community now for the last several posts. This past 10 days I have seen community in action on a grand scale. I’ve just returned from a photo odyssey in Cuba, where I was part of an amazing group of photographers participating in a marvelous project: In the Footsteps of Walker Evans. We were commemorating his trip there in 1933 to create images for the book The Crime of Cuba. This project is the brainchild of my friend, and  a great friend to photography, Skip Klein. Once again, Skip…hats off to you!

We had wonderful Cuban guides for our time there. By the second day, Grency and others were happy to talk to us about what life was really like in Havana and in the countryside. For example, most transport for medium and long distance happens by hitchhiking. It is completely safe and everybody does it. Everybody. Havana is a study in circumvention and ingenuity. If you need a different house or apartment (say you switched jobs and locations in the city), well you go to the Swap meet for apartments. Everyone knows it is on Friday morning on a corner beside the Prado. Ownership is unusual in Cuba…but there is no rent, either. Perhaps you need to call the US? Well, it’s illegal, but you can call Toronto and have the operator transfer you.

Windows and doors are apparently optional in Havana. It seems that all life takes place on the street, or inches from the street in the living room that is open to all passersby. I suppose this helps to support the idea of community…and the “we’re all in this together” attitude.

One last example: traveling back to Havana from Vinales in an early morning cab ride, we had a flat tire. The driver simply hailed a horse and cart passing by (on a 4 lane highway) and asked the driver and his companion to take the tire to their house. He indicated that he would pick it up on the return trip. We asked ‘did you know that man?’ He replied ‘no, but it’s no problem, he told me where he lives, I’ll just stop by on the way back to Vinales and pick it up.’

Community. Everybody helps everybody at seemingly every turn. It’s true that it’s a survival mechanism in Cuba. But how nice is it? It was an eye-opening experience.

Here’s the first set of images…there will be several. As always, comments are most welcome and sharing with your friends (in the spirit of community) is a great thing to do!

4 Responses to “Cuba and community”

  1. 1 honey
    November 23, 2014 at 4:41 am

    I honestly don’t know what to say. “I knew you when?” I knew you when you decided to pursue photography because of your love of travel, community, and most of all, history. You set out on a solo journey guided by your heart, and it took you to CUBA with rock star photographers to walk in the footsteps of one of the all-time greats.

    YOU inspire us all to not only have dreams but to pursue them with an open heart.

    YOU photograph and live as you are…honestly, humbly, passionately.

    Your photos are great. Your life is rich, and we are too because you share it all with everyone.

    Bravo, Keron.

    • November 23, 2014 at 7:42 am

      Honey…..humbled as always by your kindness and constancy. This photographic life has so many riches. Deeper awareness and experience of the world are the obvious benefits…but the greatest gifts are the relationships that come into our lives from shared passions. I count you as the greatest of all. Bravo, Honey….for sharing the LOVE that flows in your life, especially with me. (not selfish, just happy.)

  2. 3 markmusephotographs
    November 23, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Some nice work there, Tricksy! The windows and chicken particularly push my buttons.

    • November 23, 2014 at 7:44 am

      Hey Mark!
      Thanks for having a look! I like the chicken, too. : ) The windows image was a response to “how do I make an image from up here in this lighthouse???”. Difficult light, narrow field of view…ok, USE IT!
      Now I’m off to check your latest. I know I’m in for a treat.

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