Eric Van Nynatten Makes the Best of Havana’s Natural Lighting

All photos by Eric Van Nynatten. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Havana remains one of the most popular cities for travelers with an affinity to old-world charms, especially intrepid photographers and visual artists. We’ve featured a lot of projects that support this, and we’re more than happy to include another to the list. While some of the scenes and locations may be familiar, we think there’s a unique mood to the perspective captured by New York City-based Eric Van Nynatten. But, if you have yet to visit Havana and still dream of prowling its charming streets, we think this series will entice you.

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Photographing Inside Cuba’s Legendary Boxing Gym

All photos by Jason Bax and John Towner. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Cuba is home to many stunning scenes, intriguing locations, and fascinating people, and photographers across the globe have made it their mission to tell their story. The latest on our list of favorite documentary photography works set in the country explores one of its most iconic boxing gyms, as captured by San Francisco-based photographers Jason Bax and John Towner. In their series simply titled The Gym, the Bax and Towner duo take us to the Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym in Havana, which they tell us is world-famous for having trained Cuba’s best boxers in the past 50 years. To the unfamiliar, it’s most likely hard to see this beat-up outdoor gym as the training ground of champions, but our photographers here made it their task to give us a glimpse of the spirited boxers who still hone their skills in the legendary site.

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Daniel Garay Arango’s Sony a7R II Puts Havana’s Architecture in Black and White

All images by Daniel Garay Arango. Used with Creative Commons permission.

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.

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Bax+Towner’s ‘Farmers of Viñales’ Puts the Spotlight on the Unsung Heroes of This Cuban Town

All images by Bax+Towner. Used with Creative Commons permission.

When Jason Bax and John Towner, more popularly known as the commercial photography duo Bax+Towner, went to Cuba in March 2018, one of their main goals was to meet and take portraits of the tobacco farmers working in the fields of Viñales. The resulting series is called The Farmers of Viñales and it’s exactly what it says on the tin. The Oakland, California-based duo shot the men as they tilled the soil and harvested crops, with each image looking unsurprisingly like a print ad.

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Malte Grüner’s “Viva La Cuba” Captures Cuba’s Old World Charm

All images by Malte Grüner. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Stepping into the streets of Cuba is like stepping into a place suspended in a bygone era, or into a movie set at the very least. We can’t help but think that way, seeing that the scenes many of us are familiar with are the charming, worn out buildings with a shiny vintage car or two zooming past in the foreground.

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Colors Shine in These Havana Fashion Snaps by Sonia Szóstak

All images by Sonia Szóstak. Used with Creative Commons permission.

In a previous feature, we saw Paris-based Sonia Szóstak immersed in the hues, textures, and shapes of Bolivia and Peru, which are among the best places to study color composition. This time, we’re following her around the streets of Havana for another color-centric body of work. The city in itself is a favorite of many street and travel photographers for its old world charm, but Sonia also saw it as an interesting playground for fashion photography.

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Inside the Photographer’s Mind: Ira Block

National Geographic Photographer and Sony Artisan Ira Block was our guest recently.

It was a pleasure speaking with Ira Block – a photographer who says he’s mastered both the creative side and documentary side of his craft at the moment due to his wanting to continually push himself forward and always create different images. Ira joined us in front of a live studio audience at the Adorama Event Space to discuss his background, how and why he creates, and to share a few key stories about his travels over the years. Ira also showcased lots of his new work in his book Cuba Loves Baseball: a Photographic Journey.

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Sam Parkes Shows the Poetic Side to Cuba’s Everyday Scenes

All images and text by Sam Parkes. Used with permission.

My name is Sam Parkes and I would describe my photography as poetic storytelling. By that I do not mean fiction or in any way set up, I don’t add things in the edit or take away. I try to create an individual photograph that tells a coherent and compelling story. I travel, I take to the streets, to the forests, to the temple, to the market place and I walk and watch and wait. My photography covers a broad spectrum; it deals with the complexities of human life, our daily activities and cross cultural exploration. But I do not limit myself to being labeled a ‘human photographer’. I am just as likely to photograph landscape, wildlife, architecture, whatever I feel is worth recording. Neither do I exclusively work in black and white or color, but whatever best tells the story and creates a photograph you want to look at more than once.

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Maximilian Motel’s The Traveller is a Beautiful Ode to Space Exploration

All images by Maximilian Motel. Used with Creative Commons Permission.

Photo manipulations and composites can be sensitive topics for some photographers, yet it’s a common method used by many to realize their creative vision. Once in a while, we also come across projects of this nature that are simply praiseworthy works of art. The Traveller, a beautifully executed photo set by Berlin-based Maximillian Motel, is one such body of work that skillfully blends photography and digital art.

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The Faces of Stijn Hoekstra’s Cinematic Cuba Show Connection Between Subject and Photographer

All images by Stijn Hoekstra. Used with Creative Commons Permission.

We’ve all seen the photos and movies that show the picturesque, cinematic Cuba. Creating a picture of a place through its people is one effective way to show the essence of a destination; and this portrait set taken by Amsterdam-based Stijn Hoekstra around Cuba is a great example. If you’re looking for some inspiration in the realm of travel photography, portraiture, and even street photography, his version of a “Cinematic Cuba” will certainly do the trick.

Instead of making candid street snaps of people going about their days during his three-week holiday in the Caribbean island nation, Stijn did what many of us are still hesitant about: getting close to his subjects, interacting with them, and making a connection. This resulted in photos revealing some interesting characters. The attention to detail is also impressive — notice how the repeating combinations of straw and felt hats, the world-famous Cuban cigar, and rural backgrounds paint a picture of Cuba’s more laid-back parts.

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Garrett Graham: American Graffiti in Cuba


This is a syndicated blog post from Garrett Graham. It and the photos in this post are used with permission.

Havana Is a colorful and beautiful place. You can’t go two blocks without finding a live band playing salsa music or a cobblestone plaza built in the 1800s. Needless to say the city and people photograph beautifully.

The country has a foot in both the present and the past, so I decided to channel that past and only bring a film camera. Call me hipster or whatever you’d like, but I felt the right camera to bring was my Bronica ETRS. I left my SD cards and Canon at home and this is what I brought back.

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Frederic Saez Photographs The Cuba We Don’t See Often


All images by Frederic Saez. Used with permission.

Photographer Frederic Saez has been working on a project to show the world a side of Cuba that is not given very much attention. Rather, his project “Residents of Palacio de la Mortera” tries to bring to light a side of Cuba asphyxiated by the economic blockade since 1962 installed on the island.

“As the average salary in Cuba is $17 (US equivalent) I choose to build this work through an illustration of their habitat. Very far from the tourist sight.” says Frederic. He continued to all that in Havana, most of the buildings are in poor conditions. In fact, only a few building are renovated in the center of Havana.

When Frederic entered the building, he tells The Phoblographer in his introductory email that the atmosphere seemed very much like the movie “Blade Runner.” He describes an out of service elevator, electric cables hanging on the walls, rusted steel everywhere, no light in the stairwell. In fact, Frederic says that if one person has a television on, that person will leave the door open and the windows open for others to watch. The reality of life for people living in this over aged building .

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Andreas Ott’s Black and White Street Photography Emphasizes Geometry

Andreas Ott Street Photography 2All images by Andreas Ott. Used with permission.

“I am a street photographer based in Bonn, Germany.” says photographer Andreas Ott in his original pitch email to us. Andreas works in IT and has been a photographer for 15 years. He became a street photographer in 2013 after discovering the work of Thomas Leuthard. However, balancing a job, a family and a personal love of art can be very tough to do.

He recently shot a series about street life in Cuba and was amazed by the friendliness of the Cuban people whom he photographed. But Andreas’ true strength is with his sense of composition. Andreas shoots in black and white sometimes and much of this work is high contrast–emphasizing shapes and the way that he composes scenes.


We talked to Andreas about his sense of composition with what he sees on the streets.

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