For a visual journalist, Cuba is a feast. Its economic stagnation, while impoverishing its people, has preserved elegant colonial structures and classic cars that make the landscape a movie set come to life. Up close, the cars and buildings can betray their age. But the people and culture remain vibrant.
Cubans, while proud of their independence, yearn to connect with the outside world, Americans included. And they have come to learn how to make the most of the small pleasures that life has to offer.
Theirs is an outdoor culture, with life and love, work and play shared amid the cracked streets, the balconies, the open-air marketplaces, and in the salty sea breezes. Even the boxing gyms are outdoors.
Come evening on the Malecón, Havana’s famous 5-mile sea wall, fisherman, musicians and lovers share the crowded promenade. At sunset, you might see young men taking the edge off a long day of heat by diving into the surf of a sea that just 90 miles to the north washes onto the shores of the United States.