One of the reasons why Havana is such a fascinating city for travelers, history buffs, and especially photographers is its architecture. Setting foot in the Cuban capital’s Old Havana means stepping into a city that echoes remnants from a bygone time. It’s a favorite of many architectural photographers to document then and now, including Colombian photographer Daniel Garay Arango, who recently shared a stunning study he did using a Sony a7R II.
“Havana stands as a monument to resilience,” Arango described the city in his description for his set Havana Stands. His black and white photos serve both as a study of the age-old buildings lining the heart of the Cuban capital, as well as an ode to their role in the city’s culture and history.
“Cities are made to outlive ideas and Havana is as strong a proof of it as there could ever be. Each of its buildings shows us a personality, a specific moment in time and a powerful sense of ideology; they’re all pieces of a historical puzzle of styles ranging from the Colonial and Baroque; the spanish influenced Neo-Classical of the 19th century around El Malecón; the early 20th century’s elegance of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco; all the way to the Strong forms of the Constructivism brought by the Soviet Union, down the Carlos III Avenue; yet they’re all tied together by the signs of time, carved deeply into their facades.”
Havana Stands carries the same clean and contrasty look that we’ve previously seen from Arango’s GRVTY series. However, he has also taken away the distraction of all the other elements and buildings next to his buildings of choice for this series. With this approach, we are faced with a more dramatic emphasis on the richness of Old Havana’s iconic architecture.
“Still, despite the sense of abandonment that may be caused by shattered glass, broken walls or fallen balconies, this city is staying strong somehow; all those ideas lost in time will always be replaced by the sense of survival instinct, and maybe impending happiness. These are all buildings refusing to die, as long as there’s a light on somewhere.”