Havana, Cuba IV

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The buildings in Cuba made me really sad. Thanks to it's diverse past and colonization, Cuba has some incredible Spanish and French inspired buildings. They are even better because of their wonderful pastel colors baked by the sun. However, a good number of the buildings are crumbling and on their way out. Along the Malecón, a popular roadway by the water, the buildings are in the worst shape, tortured by the wind and salty air coming from the sea. It's awful that these gorgeous buildings with a perfect perch on the coast are abandoned and sitting empty, some with collapsed roofs and weeds sprouting from the cracks. Most are unsafe to enter and fenced off, but you can see graffiti and trash through the empty door and window frames. These devastated buildings have so much embellishment and detail in the facades, columns, and windows... it's impossible not to imagine the city in it's  glittering glory days of decades past and feel blue.

The home we stayed at was on the Malecón (one of the few inhabited), which stretches for 8 km along Havana's coast and is a lovely place to take a stroll. In the evening, the wall is covered with fishermen and couples kissing in the setting sun. I woke up before sunrise one morning, and experienced a nearly deserted and peaceful Malecón, except for the crashing waves on the seawall. It is such a landmark in Havana.

As tourism has picked up, the Cuban government has started restoring key buildings in the city, but they've got a long way to go, and so many homes won't make it. 

- Julia



29 comments :

  1. Seriously amazing. Such beautiful and real pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  2. just stunning. love your insight into each country you post on!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh boy! So much nostalgia in these photos. They are so sad and yet so full of life at the same time!!! Photogenic and lonely and yet beyond gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the shot of the moving car, and the hanging pots.

    Cuba, what a place to go right now in this transitionary part of their history. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. great capture you two! i love the many dimensions of the the buildings so weathered and rustic. do you use a tilt shift lens?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Julia! Yes, we used a tilt shift lens with a Nikon D700.

      Delete
  6. Your photos always tell such a beautiful story, even if it is sad to see those deteriorating buildings.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Gorgeous photos! Which lenses were you carrying around?

    http://bloodstre.am

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rachel! I think this entire post was shot with a 45mm tilt shift lens. We brought a handful of other lenses which you'll see in other posts (85mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, 35mm 2.0, 24mm 2.8).

      Delete
    2. of these lenses - do you have a fav? for travel, and for portraiture?

      Delete
    3. I think if we could only take one lens it would probably be the 50mm. Although the 35mm would be a close second. The tilt shift lens is awesome but it's big, expensive, manual focus and only goes down to f/2.8. I we use the 50mm a ton when we travel.

      Delete
  8. Beautiful writing and photographs.
    Also, I am a new reader of your blog and I must say how much I love it! Thank you for sharing everything you do. :)

    http://cotton-hearted.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  9. So incredibly gorgeous. Love the feel in all of your photographs.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can imagine how beautiful the neighborhood would be if serious efforts to restore its past charm are carried out. Luckily the country is starting to open itself, albeit gradually.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Loved your pictures! And loved to see through your lense some of the places I've visited just a few weeks back.
    We even photographed the same street (the one with the kids playing between two walls with graffitti for instance ) :)
    Here are two links to my shots of Havana http://www.cuvintesiculori.com/2013/02/culori-de-prin-lume-havana-cuba-colours.html
    http://www.cuvintesiculori.com/2013/01/focus-pe-culori-masini-cubaneze-focus.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow, this is great. I had no idea Cuba looked like this

    ReplyDelete
  13. What beautiful photos like always. What a relief for you to have been there before it all goes commercial. I wish we had the time for that visit as well.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm an old follower who somehow misplaced your blog, it's so lovely to rediscover it today. Your photos and your way of life inspires me. I love the moments you've captured here, especially the three ladies sitting in the doorway.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Found your blog via Pinterest. Your photos are breath-taking. I hope I can take photos of this caliber some day. I also hope I can go to Cuba some day!

    Fleur d'Elise

    ReplyDelete
  16. These pictures are breathtaking. I especially love the one of the 3 women smoking cigars.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love my Cuba! what a great job with these pictures you made! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  18. really beautiful, you guys. always. that tilt shift lens is rad.

    ReplyDelete
  19. great impressions! thank you for sharing them here!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Just came across your blog through bloglovin..I have to say, love love love your photography style and the fact that you two were so brave in dropping everything and embarking on a taking a 6-month honeymoon! That mission itself is as beautiful as your photos.
    http://withlovedc.tumblr.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. the last picture is amazing*

    ReplyDelete