Category: Cuba, 2014

Young Photographers and Film Makers

February 3

After breakfast at the hotel and a short meeting, our group, down to six because three have opted to go off on their own today, piles into the van for a drive to Cojinar, a small village outside Havana, where Earnest Hemingway lived, boated, drank and wrote. A bar we stop in has many photos of him. We wander around town for half an hour, observing and taking some photos.




At 10:15, we meet and go to the home of a famous Cuban photographer, Raul Corrales. Corrales was a photographer of the revolution, and a very close friend of another famous revolution photographer, Korda, whose daughter I visited with on my April trip to Cuba. It was interesting to hear about Korda from Corrales’ granddaughter, Claudia Corrales, who was our hostess. She said that Korda was like an uncle to her, and was very different from her grandfather, the latter being quiet and serious, while Korda was out-going and fun.


Claudia told us about her famous grandfather, who managed to push his way into photography, starting as one who cleaned up a studio. More interesting, though, was Claudia’s discussion of her own evolution as a photographer. Now 26, beautiful and charming, she originally stayed away from photography, not wanting to follow in the footsteps of her famous grandfather or her less famous (and less accomplished) father. About three years ago she drifted into photography and now is developing her own distinctive voice, producing quite engaging work, originally in black and white, but now moving into color. She spoke of the difficulties of being compared to her grandfather, but our sense is that she is well on her way to finding her own personal style. The time we spent with her was quite delightful.

After that, we had another hour to wander around town. The “beach” area was a pile of litter, but we found some interesting people to photograph, including two men in a butcher shop with a pig’s head hanging in front of them. We bought a small gift for Jasper, which may or may not make it back in one piece, but seemed worth a try, given its modest price.
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The group met and lunched at a good-enough restaurant, called Las Brisas, then climbed back in the van to head back to Havana. We were told that we were going to see a short, 13-minute film that a young filmmaker had made. We were not excited at the prospect, but were dazzled by the short film, called Oslo, about an elderly, senile woman, who wanted to see snow. The filmmaker, Luis Ernesto Donas, was present and incredibly warm and humble in response to our questions. He said that he’d been inspired by the work of the painter Andrew Wyeth, and the film definitely had the feel of Wyeth’s work. Several of us said that the movie was reminiscent of Amour, a fabulous French film. He said that his work had been compared to Amour, though Oslo actually had been made before Amour. The original music complemented the film beautifully. Luis been given 250 CUCs to make the film as a graduate student and had gotten the Norwegian Embassy to contribute another 500 in honor of the 100th anniversary of reaching the South Pole by Admunsen, a Dane. Afterwards, I told Jennifer (in private) that I’d like to help with a contribution towards the making of his next film, which he had discussed with us. What a treat.

We walked around town, getting back to the hotel around 3:30. Carol had scheduled a massage for the afternoon, and I wasted an incredible and frustrating amount of time trying to get images together for the final evening tomorrow.

Carol and I went to dinner at La Guarida, which Jennifer had recommended to us. Located on the third floor of an old apartment building, it’s an elegant spot with excellent food; a very fine choice for dinner. (I had actually eaten lunch there with our group in April.)




We returned to the hotel, and an earlier night than the past two. A very good day, with a nice change of pace from the one we’d kept in Havana.

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