“… And these children
that you spit on
as they try to change their worlds
are immune to your consultations.
They’re quite aware
of what they’re going through…”
― David Bowie

It was after midnight when I entered the park directly across the street from the Hotel Presidente in Havana, Cuba. My intention was to grab a shot of the hotels’ marquee for my photo-log. I was also testing the night time capabilities of an Olympus OMD EM-1 camera & a 75mm f/1.8 lens.

As I held up my camera to shoot, I heard shouts of ‘hello my friend’ and ‘hey, hey, aqui’, aqui’. When I glanced over at the vocal ruckus I saw a group of teenagers who, when they saw they had gotten my attention, immediately struck a pose.

I’m not sure where they materialized from as the initial group consisted of 6 boys, but in a flash there were 15 teens voguing, laughing & shouting ‘tomar nuestra foto’ -‘take our photo’. Ahhh! I thought – this is infinitely more interesting than an architectural shot!

In the short time I spent with this group I realized my levels of incomprehension of the life of a Cuban teen. Not being conversant in their language except for a few basic phrases, I couldn’t relate to them beyond our camera connection. I have no idea of the architecture of their daily life, what emotions they struggle with, the color of their hopes nor the dimension of their dreams.

I imagine these teens struggle with the same issues as teens world-wide with the added caveat of growing up in a Country that restricts freedom. I’m surprised when one of the young men tells me he has email. Delighted, I have him type his address into my phone self-consciously realizing this may be the 1st smart phone he’s ever held in his hands.

I expect these kids will enjoy seeing the images they initiated and today, as I hit the email ‘send’ button, I cross my fingers hoping Google Translate has done a good job of transcribing my letter and add a little prayer that the email is delivered intact.

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  1. Pingback: ‘BREAKFAST CLUB’ HAVANA STYLE | Jo Ann Tomaselli ~

  2. This was just delightful Jo Ann – what a lovely shot and very emotive. I just loved all that you read into these happy faces and their enthusiasm. Lovely to have you back and see you posting again!!


    • I so appreciate your comments Sharon. When photographing people, there are always those purloined shots which have their own merit but I find a more authentic result when I engage with a subject prior to photographing them. I’m challenging myself to be less shy in this area!.


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