Cuba: Memories Intertwined

CUBA BY KIKE CALVO

Since 1999 I have been working on a photographic project documenting the daily life and changes of Cuba. As a Spaniard, I benefited from the unique bonds both countries have shared  for many years. I discovered the warm hearts of Cubans during on one of my early trips, when the island was still struggling with the end of the ¨special period ¨ after the soviets left. As a curious young photographer I drove across the island, reaching far away places like the Guanacabibes Peninsula. Not always shooting, sometimes I was just closely absorbing the culture and their friendship. A bodega called my attention. A woman with a gracefully arranged head wrap was giving out loaves of bread upon checking ration cards at the window. Without a ration card, and looking at bread that could not be bought, I stood there, remembering some of the stories my grandmother Regla had shared with us about the Spanish Civil war. With no words exchanged, she extended her arm and handed me a loaf of bread.

CUBA KIKE CALVOCuba has given me wonderful moments of joy and self-reflection. My work as a National Geographic Expert on multiple expeditions has allowed me to perceive the big and small changes this country has gone through. Last January, I published an article on the National Geographic Blog called Memories intertwined: Revisiting David Alan Harvey´s Trinidad (Cuba), parts of which I am highlighting at the end of this post.

What the future will bring to Cuba is uncertain. The possibilities are many. For those who will rush to discover Cuba in the coming weeks, months or years. For those who may venture to Cuba for business  in the coming weeks, months or years. Remember, Cuba is a jewel, as much for its architecture, its music and its culture, as for its people, its folklore and its history. There is a story behind every smile and wrinkle you will find.  Dig in and the most novelesque misfortunes may arise. Dig-in and contagious sheer happiness may arise.

Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones

Time will tell what the US-Cuba policy will grant both sides. What Cuba has granted me is an immersion into a field of dream-pursuits that has influenced my understanding of photography, story telling and life.

A selection of my favorite pictures will be available on a special limited-time offer for those who combine a passion for photography and Cuba.

 BLACK and WHITE METALLIC PRINTS – Limited Time Offer
Visit the Gallery
Until January 25 2015, any of the photographs on this gallery will be available for purchase  for $99. (8.5 x 11 paper. Image size varies)Visit the gallery and an automated system will help you check out and pay with your credit card.

Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones CUBA BY KIKE CALVO Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones
Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones

NG1For those of you who have been readers of National Geographic for years now, you may remember a beautiful and visually captivating article on Trinidad, Cuba, with images by David Alan Harvey, published 14 years ago.

In one of the photographs, Rosa Orbea was combing the hair of her niece, Annalien Santander Orbea. Annalien was wearing a crisp, bright white dress, and getting ready to celebrate her ¨quinces¨, a very meaningful celebration that occurs when a girl becomes a young lady, turning 15 years old.

As an expert for National Geographic Expeditions, I join our travelers in a search for unique places around the destination country. On this occasion, we went to visit the home of horse whisperer Julio Muñoz, who is none other than Rosa´s husband.

Photographer Kike Calvo flying drones

To say the least, luck was on my side when I found out the Annalien, now a mother, was visiting for a couple of days from Miami. As a photographer, I was thrilled by the opportunity, so I inquired the location of that white, now less sparkly, ¨quinceañera¨ dress. Sure enough, they found it.

The room in which the photograph was taken years ago, is now being refurbished as part of the the family’s new project, a bed and breakfast. We sat together in the living room, a beautiful colonial space with high ceilings mosaic tiles. As we spoke about their appearance in National Geographic magazine and how that influenced their lives, I took some photographs to immortalize such a unique coincidence. These images of past and present display a perfect picture of change.

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Learn more about Cuba:
Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guide)
Cuba for the Misinformed: Facts from the Forbidden Island
Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Second Edition
Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guide)
Cuba for the Misinformed: Facts from the Forbidden Island

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