Assignment: Cuba, a documentary project sponsored by Rockport College and the Maine Photographic Workshops, provides a "snapshot" of modern Cuba and a database for future photographers, artists, filmmakers, and scholars.
The workshops are an opportunity to explore the culture of a rich and spiritual land while you build a body of personal work and share your frustrations and discoveries with fellow storytellers. Classes are informal and you are able to work one-on-one with the faculty in critiques.
The courses are for working photographers, journalists, documentary filmmakers, researchers, social scientists, and anthropologists. Amateurs with a real interest in Cuba and college students are also welcome. However, U.S. citizens wishing to travel to Cuba on vacation, to visit family, follow commercial interests, or pursue political agendas are not allowed.
My stay began at the Hotel Ambos Mundos in old Havana, a modest 35-room hotel in a great location for photography. My workshop was directed by Bob Krist, a famous travel photographer. We met with him each morning at the convent de Santa Clara in old Havana to discuss equipment and technical questions, how to work with people, and the business aspects of travel photography. He shared his work and critiqued our work, both what we brought and what we were doing daily.
The rest of the day was spent on our own photographing, wandering, and learning. I was free to roam the streets of Havana and to tour the countryside. The people I met showed kindness and interest and were very willing to have their photos taken. I spent a great deal of time visiting schools, synagogues, cemeteries, a cigar factory; I attended and photographed weddings and even nightclub shows. I also photographed the three Jewish synagogues and the two large Jewish cemeteries, and I plan to share the information and photos with any interested group.
Full details regarding the workshops are available at www.theworkshops.com or call 877-577-7700. Fall destinations include Mexico, Spain, Italy, and the Greek islands.