Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ruth Howard: 3-time Photo Cuba Participant!

Making photos on the southwest coast of Cuba, is a dream come true. From both a photographic and a personal point of view, Chivirico is unlike any other place in the world. It is enticing and seductive. Add Trina’s excellent touch as a teacher of photography and traveling companion, and you truly do have magic.

The openness of the local people is so inviting, even when they have their backs turned to us, as in “Old Sole” [above]; in this picture, it doesn’t matter that we are unsure whether the subject is male or female. Actually, for me, it’s the not knowing that helps make this photo, because the subject and its story have universal application.

The citizens of Chivirico are totally comfortable with having their photos taken. Their gestures and their body language say snap me… The life they lead is so different from ours, because of both the stunning geography and the intricacies of the island’s politics, yet these people are our extended family.

The warmth and acceptance is pure joy for us, and despite our having visited Chivirico six times in just over two years, we continue to find the village a wonderful place to keep building on our creative forces. The progression in the style of our own work over the past two years is obvious. Trina always spurs us on to new and different ways of looking at our subject matter, and our creativity has become so much more fluid and emotional.

Just when I think that I have squeezed out everything that I can, photographically, from this little corner of the world, somehow I am revitalized and inspired again. This past February I fell in love with shooting into the sun, a total departure for me. I am enjoying the challenge of the direction in which my work is moving.

Typically, I have been shooting thousands of photos when we’re visiting Chivirico and Santiago de Cuba. I don’t think I’ll be doing that anymore: rather, I shall be concentrating on expressing meaning in a more abstract and focused style.

It is pretty well guaranteed that nowhere else in the world will you find people so amenable to being photographed as they go about their daily business. Each time we’re in Cuba we’ve learned something new about ourselves and making pictures in a new way, which we can apply to all our photography.

Ruth xo

Thanks to Ruth Howard for sharing her images and thoughts! You can find more photos by Ruth and her equally talented partner Alan Madras at their website,