Havana Particular by Stephen Dupont
I travelled to Cuba in May 2001 to spend four weeks in Havana. My aim was to walk the streets and take photographs, shoot freely without the pressures of an assignment. Cuba interested me for as long as I’ve been a photographer. The culture and the music certainly intrigued me, but I was mostly seduced by its red rebel past. A land of mystique caught between Communist Russia and 50’s capitalist America. The rise in Tourism is changing Cuba dramatically. Cubans adore Cuba but struggle with poverty, and an identity crisis is clearly visible in much of the cities people. I wanted to show this and the personality of Havana in my photographs.
What I had seen in photography in Cuba was mostly colour, rich Caribbean flavours and soft light. I mostly shoot B+W photography and I wanted my work on Havana to be shown in this way, with an open candid approach to taking photographs that I’d been working on for many years but was only starting to feel excited about and enjoying since January. Havana certainly brought ‘Passion’ to my vision. I arrived with very few preconceptions and ideas, which is difficult in a place that has become so heavily photographed. I wanted to be free of commitment to anyone but myself. I wanted to concentrate on the people that came across my frame. My best work has always been personal projects with no time restrictions. I feel at my happiest when I walk the streets, without any defined goal other than to photograph moments that happen along my journeys. Havana has a visual energy unlike any place I’ve been to. It is totally unique and the people are the most friendly and vibrant I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. It’s poor, dirty, hot and sexy.
The old Cuba is disappearing and I wanted to capture some of this before it dies forever. My photographs are taken all over Havana. I would walk from early morning to late into the night, to capture the exposed beauty that is right in your face constantly and just let the rhythm of the streets guide me until exhaustion forced me to stop.
- Stephen Dupont
Slide created by
Anna Maria Antoinette D'Addario
'Bongo Samba' Chaino
Photography by Stephen Dupont 2001