On our first full day shooting in Cuba, I met these two boys. Now, it's customary to tip cash or other bounty when you take a photo, and these street-savvy kids were really working it. They'd already been photographed (and tipped) by a number of others in our group, when they spotted me. Realizing I hadn't taken their photo (or tipped them) yet, they appealed to me to "please, mister" take our photo. Their good matured persistence cracked me up and I relented, ultimately giving them each crayons I'd brought for this purpose. I was struck by how cosmopolitan and stylish they both were; they could have just as easily been from New York or Chicago. Look at that hip 'doo!! This became one of my first photos of the trip and ultimately one of my favorites.
Several days into our trip, we traveled to Trinidad on the southern side of Cuba. The vibe was very different from the city. People moved slower and seemed more open and inviting. I walked down the narrow cobble stoned streets and looked into a building where I saw a woman, 30-something I'm guessing, painting a canvas and surrounded by easels and brushes. At the doorway I met an older woman and I asked her if this area was public or private. She told me it was private, her home, but invited me in with a broad smile and gestured for me to look around; she specifically insisted that I see her kitchen! Her home was very modest, devoid of furniture, and extremely neat and orderly. Oddly, much of the house had no roof! The rooms in the center of the building were uncovered giving the feeling of a courtyard. The other woman continued to paint, while the older woman introduced me to her nieta, her granddaughter and allowed me to take their photo. I chose to crop this image, leaving in the doorway to the bathroom, because I think it relays the feeling intimacy that we shared. What I appreciated about this encounter was that it felt very genuinely friendly. She didn't ask for anything from me and gave no indication of expecting anything. We said goodbye and as I walked out, I tuned and asked if I could leave something for her nieta. She smiled and I handed her granddaughter some crayons.
This is "el Capitolio," once the capital building of Cuba. Interesting, many of the islands of the Caribbean modeled their capitol after our White House, at least superficially. Many others are built to a smaller scale, but we were told that the dome on this one was purposely built a few feet taller than our White House.