I have had Cuba on my mind these days, and the amazing experience I had there with a wonderful group of photographers, and D’Arcy Benincosa; a beautiful inspiration to me. This trip was a huge turning point for me, because earlier in the year I was in a creative fog, and needed something to pull me out of it; Cuba was just the thing. I arrived a day before everyone, because as anyone knows who is from the Canadian east coast, it takes FOREVER to get anywhere in the world, and I didn’t want to miss any part of the workshop. So to play it safe, I hopped on a plane, and landed in Cuba solo. The first night I stayed in a sweet AirBnB in the town of Vedado, I felt very at home in the area even though I didn’t speak the language, or know my way around.
The weather was beautiful, and I got up nice and early the next day to explore and get me bearings. I walked to the the Malecón, which is a broad esplanade, roadway and seawall which stretches for 8 km. It is very easy to navigate around Havana, because the streets are simply numbers and letters, so you always know where you are if you have a screen shot of a map of Havana. PS, there is very little to no internet or data service in Cuba, so I made sure to take lots of screen shots of maps before I left Canada.
Being in Havana, Cuba is like walking into a painting back in time, everything is as it was 60 years ago, everyone is so happy, even though they have little to nothing. It really made me slow down and wonder what the constant hustle is for if we can’t enjoy it, here were people living in broken down homes, with clothes on that you could often see through, yet they always had a swing in their step and a smile from ear to ear. As I said, many things changed for me as a result of this trip, and I am so grateful that I can go back, unlike my US counterparts (so sad).
I could go on and on about all of the things I did and saw, but will save that for another post. This post is about how inspired I was by one of the shoots that D’Arcy put together for us. We got to work with two stunning people Massiel and Noel, thankfully Massiel spoke French so I was able to communicate with her freely, more so than if I were to dust off my Spanish.
The house that we photographed is was exquisite, the family lives there, but everything in it was over 60 years old if not older, and fully functioning. I was so intrigued that I found myself walking through its entirely and taking photos just so I could remember how it made me feel, so at ease. It was this same house where Rhianna did her Vanity Fair photoshoot, and shot a video, there was a copy of the magazine in the house on the desk and it seemed so out of place, like someone had come back from the future and left it behind. It was so interesting to flip through while standing in the very house that the images were captured in, she also did a portion of the shoot at a restaurant that we had all eaten at the night before!
I wanted to share not only the very carefully curated shoot, but also a little bit of the house to put things into perspective. There was one image in the home that I still think about, it was of the man and woman of the home, sitting, holding hands, each in their own respective chair. There was so much to that image, I just wanted to know what they were thinking, I really wish I know who the photographer was so that I could credit them, you will know what image I mean when you see it below.
VENDOR LOVE | Styling and Workshop: D’Arcy Benincosa for The Path Workshops | Dress: Musat Atelier | Veil: Girl and a Serious Dream | Jewelry: Kristin Hayes Jewelry | Paper Suite: Flourish Calligraphy | Silk Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic | Styling Boards: Emma Natter for Pilgrim & Co. | Models: Cuba Modela