Photography provides a window through which we can truly explore the world and its many eclectic cultures. No more so than in the Caribbean island of Cuba. On this photography tour, you’ll learn to appreciate the country’s cultural evolution through the lense of your camera, as you get to know Cubans from all walks of life alongside our expert guides.
On day one, the group will meet in Miami before leaving the airport on a chartered flight to Havana. We will then start our adventure with a traditional lunch at a Cuban restaurant, and take a quick city tour to get our bearings. On the tour we will stop at a number of cultural sights, including the Centro Cultural Antiguos Almacenes de Deposito San José, an arts and crafts market found in a renovated warehouse on the harbour. Here we will explore the colourful stalls with our cameras, and capture authentic Cuban culture in one of the capital’s thriving artistic hotspots. Among the stalls in the artisan market will be a wood sculptor, who also happens to be a key member of the artistic cooperative. With his help, we will learn about the market’s history and get to know other local craftsmen.
A stroll through the market, camera in hand, is the perfect opening for our Cuban adventure, with a vivid and diverse selection of photo opportunities, including local paintings, ceramics, leathers, jewelry, and musical instruments.
After our introduction to the local art scene, we will check into our hotel before getting together for a welcome dinner
Hotel Mercure Sevilla (L,D)
The group’s second day will begin with a morning photo walk focused on the gradual restoration of Old Havana. We will also have the chance to meet with a representative from the city’s historian's’ office, before taking in the sights of the Plaza Vieja.
In the square we will meet with Nelson Ramírez de Arellano, the director of Fototeca de Cuba.
Fototeca de Cuba was founded thirty years ago in an effort to both preserve and draw attention to Cuba’s photographic heritage. The Fototeca de Cuba headquarters houses the country’s greatest collection of Cuban photography, and there we will discover more about the actions that the organisation takes to inspire young creative talent. We will also spend time appreciating the current exhibitions, and take part in an interactive presentation of prestigious photographers and their work throughout Cuba’s history.
After, we will have lunch at a local paladar, before exploring the origins of Afro-Cuban folkloric dance with a local dance company. There we will have a chance to chat with Cuban students and musicians, learning more about their lives as we shoot still portraits of them in motion.
Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,L)
Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,L,D)
On day four we will take an immersive look into another aspect of proud Cuban culture: sport. For a relatively small nation, Cuba has long punched above its weight in the boxing ring, and today we will spend time understanding a sporting tradition that has seen this island win more than 32 Olympic golds since 1972.
Cameras in hand, we will go behind the scenes at the Gimnasio de Boxeo Rafael Trejo, Cuba’s oldest and most prestigious boxing club. There the director take us through his country’s illustrious boxing history. We will also speak with boxers and their coaches, watching from beside the ring and capturing vivid images of a training session in full flow.
After a photography session by the boxing ring, we will leave the gym and visit a group of traditional ballet dancers at a local production company. While it may seem the complete antithesis of the physical aggression we saw firsthand in the boxing ring, the graceful choreography of a ballet rehearsal actually has much in common with the sporting elegance of a boxer in training.
Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,L)
Our fifth day in Havana will begin in the fashion of many waking up in the capital: with a trip to the market. The group will experience the morning rush at Old Havana’s Mercado Agropecuario Egido. There we will meet independent farmers and produce vendors, learn about their businesses, and capture the vibrant patchworks of fresh vegetables, fruit, and flowers.
After our market visit, we will head to the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA). ISA is Cuba’s foremost art school, and there we will speak with native photography students, cast our eyes over their best work, and share photography stories as we stroll around the campus. As the sun goes down, the group will share an evening with a selection of professional Cuban photographers, who will be keen to show off portfolios and talk about their careers in the industry. Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,L)
On day six of our Cuba photography tour, the group will head out early to capture the morning light as it wakes the Vedado neighborhood. For another taste of local culture, we will meet members of the community who dedicate their time to the preservation of the neighborhood’s historical buildings - something close to the heart of many in this part of the world. We will gain exclusive access to the historic home of a local resident, who will help us capture the building’s architectural quirks.
After an authentic lunch we will once more delve into the heart of Cuban culture, as we visit an up and coming dance company specialising in the many styles of Cuban dance. We will watch the company’s weekly “Sábado de la Rumba” unfold, and fill our lenses with the vibrant performance of Afro-Cuban dance and drumming. Capturing the effortless rhythm of the rumba, guaguancó, and yambú will be a colourful, engaging experience. Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,L)
Our seventh day in Havana will be a Sunday, which happens to be a day of leisure for most Cubans. Leisure certainly doesn’t mean rest, so expect to see the city’s streets come to life with vivacious markets, music and dance performances, pop-up sports games, and community events. As you can imagine, there will be on shortage of photographic opportunities, so we will head out with our cameras and interact with as many scenes as possible.
We will then focus on the music that provides the soul of Cuba’s streets. We will speak with local musicians, before visiting several cuentapropistas, who are at the heart of the country’s growing private sector. If time allows, we will stop off to meet with an expert on the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería, drop in at another gym to speak with athletes and bodybuilders, and visit some local artists for a tour of their studios.
By the time the evening comes, we will be determined to finish our Cuban adventure in style. We will have a celebratory farewell dinner and enjoy our last night in the city. Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,D)
If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:
Greater than 60 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 fee.
45 days or more: 75% refund
30 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 30 days: no refund
Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.
Refunds will be initiated within 72 hours of the time that the request is approved.
The tour is always dependent on weather, as the Arctic weather can indeed be highly unpredictable.When it comes to the Northern Lights, while they are most likely to be seen between September and April, there is no guarantee that they will appear at a given time. There is however always plenty to see and do if conditions do not favour any part of our original plan.