Photographs 5 & 6 are also close-up portraits. In both cases, I had been shooting horizontally almost exclusively. I had taken many photographs of both individuals, but in both cases, the vertical portrait was the strongest image.
I was on a day trip shooting with seven other photographers attending Peter Turnley’s Cuba workshop. We had made various stops and this photograph was taken at a tobacco and coffee plantation in outside of Vinales. I was very patient taking dozens of shots of this man. I had watched his friend roll cigars and we all feasted on fresh fruit and cigars. In fact, I ended up buying both cigars and very rich coffee beans in between taking pictures. For me, he was universal in terms of tobacco workers as partially evident by the cigar, but totally individual as his eyes speak and combine with the cigar and his hat to make this the strongest photograph I took at this site.
I took this picture and others in the exhibit at La Placita in San Juan. I spent many hours with my camera sitting across from the concrete benches that border the inside market. Just as in the prior photograph, almost all of my bench pics were horizontal, but not this one. First, I wanted to photograph her alone – not with the many others who sat outside La Placita. Her stare was so powerful, and combined with her clothe and flip-flops, I felt her strength, her richness and was honored to take her picture.