Some thoughts about Street Photography in Havana and why technically perfect photos sometimes might have no soul:
My passion is to capture the real Cuban soul. For my opinion technically perfect photos – in most cases – have no soul. Years ago I also took “post-card like” photos. My definition for these touristic photos today is “sterile”. I saw them all – even if I hadn’t seen them before.
The secret for authentic photos is not the camera, it is interacting with the people, creating a story in the street with people. Most photographers cannot interact with the people as they do not speak a foreign language. And so they cannot capture the real soul of a country. Sorry to say this, but most Cuba photos that I saw in the past are photos from strange people crossing the street and boring post-cards.
What is the secret of Street Photography in Havana?
Shallow depth-of-field is not a technical imperfection, it is a creative choice. And, at the moment it is very much in style. This is, perhaps, because ubiquitous camera phones can’t really achieve it due to their small sensors. People pay a premium for fast lenses specifically because they are after this ‘imperfection.’ LEICA rangefinder cameras with fast lenses provide everything to capture vivid street portraits.
But there is another thing that needs to be considered! The taste of the viewers has changed over the past years not only in general, but in Street Photography as well. People today want to see authentic photos, and no staged or posed “passport-photos”. The taste of the viewers has changed, because today everyone has a camera with it and is a photographer. The photo below (face of joy) was sold several times during an exhibition in Hotel FLORIDA in Calle Obispo, Havana for US$ 350,– (50/30cm) each. If you take a closer look, it is technically not perfect, focused on the eyes only and everything else is blurred.
It is so emotional and particullary it tells a story: a face of joy! BTW, this is what my clients are saying about my photography: