Cuba, One Year Later / by Lisa Hancock

A year ago this month, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Cuba (a lifelong dream) and photograph the people and sites in Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Baracoa.  It was everything you can imagine and more.  Frozen in time, a time capsule of the 1950s before the revolution, paintings of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara everywhere, beautiful crumbling buildings from the glory days.  Especially in Havana, it was like being on a film set!  But change was on the horizon everywhere too.  There was the constant din of construction as buildings all over Havana were being renovated, in anticipation of a more open future.  People talked with optimism about a post-Castro era just around the corner.  Literally a week after I got back the US announced it would resume relations with Cuba and ease the embargo.  I've been waiting with excitement ever since for travel there to get easier so I can go back and continue photographing but change is slow.  

In the meantime, I'm still processing the incredible experience I had and the images I captured.  Unlike in the States, Cubans welcomed being photographed on the street.  They were so open and grateful for the attention!  It felt like how street photography here in the US must have been like back in the 1950s and 60s, for photographers like Robert Frank and Bruce Davidson.  Wish we could get back to that more innocent time!  Can't wait to get back to Cuba!

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