Photography is a journey right? And I believe on each journey, every now and then, when you stop, you have to turn around and look at where you have come from. Only by looking back can you move forward.
In 2008, I went to Cuba on holiday. Havana was just amazing, the streets buzzing with people and the famous cars from the 50s. I made a habit of going out early each morning, I wanted to see the real Cuba, before the tourists surfaced and plodded the pavements in search of cigars and the bars frequented by Ernest Hemingway. It did not disappoint.
The strong, low, early sun breaching the streets and the relaxed nature of the people I encountered was a memory to treasure, and one, I’ll never forget.
Leaving the main thoroughfares I headed in to backstreets, I was greeted with smiles and I felt safe, just me and my camera. I felt free.
In those backstreets, I found what I was looking for, the real Havana, not a tourist to be seen and even the dogs were relaxed.
I felt so comfortable, that I had no issue at all approaching anyone and asking if I could make their image, as I recall, no one said no.
Somedays I walked for miles, just to get away from the centre, always searching for something other than the falseness that tourism attracts.
Cuba offered an experience that to date I have found hard to replicate, maybe it was the nature of the Cubans, the friendly atmosphere or the weather. I remember my confidence was running high, I wasn’t afraid to stop and ask, I just did it.
It has, though, taken me many years to look at these images properly, to analyse them and wonder what my motivation was behind each image. This is why I love looking back at images. I find it helps to motivate me, it helps me understand the process I went though. Looking back drives me forward.