I love people watching. I think that is also why I’m so in love with street photography. There are few things more intriguing than our fellow human beings. There are no two of us that are alike and I often find myself wondering what other’s lives are like. What motivates them? What inspires them? What troubles them? What do they struggle with? What have they endured and what are they striving for?

cubans

(By the way, it is Giving Tuesday. I know I am not a non-profit but I could use your support in my climate change reporting. I’d love to hit $250 by the end of the day.)

cubans

In a way, we can never know about the lives of a man or woman passing by on the street. But in other ways we can learn a tremendous amount. It is basic human nature to read and assess the body language of other human beings in order to puzzle them out psychologically. The human form itself feeds us information about other people’s emotional states. We can see that in their faces but also in how they hold and move their bodies.

cubans

What do their clothes say about them? What are they trying to say to the world about themselves by what they choose to wear? What about piercings or tattoos? In the case of Cuba where there are far fewer clothing options than in much of the rest of the world, does clothing say anything? I think it still does.

When we look into each other’s faces we can gauge feelings and emotions. So too can we gauge from ways of walking, the stance and how people hold their hands. Are they fidgeting? Holding a book or a briefcase as a shield to protect themselves? Are their shoulders sagged or intent on their cell phones? How do they behave towards others? Do they look down, look away or directly address other people, say good morning, hold a door open, smile?

cubans

Much of this basic assessment of others happens subconsciously but if we sit or stand still long enough and become present in the moment we can consciously glean a tremendous amount of information…and hopefully compassion…from observing others.

One afternoon on the narrow, crowded and noisy streets in the old section of Havana, Cuba I came across a wall with a magnificent color of green. I stood across the street and photographed Cubans as they walked along this green wall in front of me – just normal everyday people making their way through their day in that absolutely unique city.

A few days later I returned, hoping to capture a few more shots along the same wall. But a car was then parked in my spot so I had to move down the street a few feet to where the green shifted to a blue scrawled in graffiti.  My intention wasn’t to capture perfectly in focus images  but rather the movement of the people against the wall. That is why some of them appear a bit out of blurry. In all I made 30 images. These are just a sample.

Next Havana Imagined Photography Tour is in April 2018. 6 Spots available.  Sign up now!

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More shots from the Havana Imagined Photography Tour are here:

Cuban Ballet Dancers

I’m posting portraits of Cubans on my Instagram.

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3 comments

  1. Comment by Ron Hagg

    Ron Hagg Reply December 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Do they look down, or look away, or directly address other people, say good morning, open a door, smile? In Hawai’i almost everyone looks directly at you when you are walking and says, “Howzit” Even a Moke (slang for tough guy) will be frowning and when you say “howzit” a smile appears and he’ll reply. I really like that. I have NOT experienced that in Taos.

  2. Comment by Ron Hagg

    Ron Hagg Reply December 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    forgot to say how much I LOVE these fotos. Hablas español?

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply December 12, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Si! Hablo español, Ron! Thank you for the compliments! Cubans tend to be very friendly. I dont think most of these folks had a clue I was there capturing them going by.

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