Photographers' Blog

Home sweet (furtive) home

July 10, 2012

By Desmond Boylan

People in Havana refer to migrant workers from eastern Cuba as “Palestinians.” They arrive in Havana and its outskirts to work and make an honest living, and stay. Many of them have no choice but to secretively build a home in the bush to settle into.

Cockfighting in an anti-aircraft bunker

July 2, 2012

By Desmond Boylan

In Cuba, it is legal to own fighting cocks, it is legal to train them, and it is legal to put them to fight, but one detail –  all forms of betting and gambling are strictly forbidden since 1959, when the Cuban Revolution started.  And the sole reason to fight cocks is to bet on them. It is an activity so popular among Cubans that stopping it would pose a huge challenge for the authorities and would be counterproductive.

The Cuban gazelle

June 6, 2012

By Desmond Boylan

A mixture of gazelle and human is the impression Dayron gave me when he took off from where I was standing on the training grounds and jumped the first hurdle. He became tiny in the lens very fast, and when he was running towards me there wasn’t much time to shoot until he filled the frame.

Another day on the job

June 5, 2012

By Desmond Boylan

Imagine a job that runs from Monday to Monday, starts at 5 am every day and does not end until 9 pm if all goes well and according to plan. No days off permitted.

Guilty of tourism

May 22, 2012

By Desmond Boylan

Recently I was at the beach on a very hot and sunny day in the province of Matanzas, east of Havana, when a group of tourists arrived in a bus. As I watched, two of them sneaked behind a bush, stripped to their underwear, slipped their clothes to their companions, and had a quick dip in the sea. They were obviously nervous, watching out so that they wouldn’t be spotted by their minders. I realized that they were Americans, and that by taking a swim and committing an act of tourism, they were breaking the laws of the U.S embargo. They were breaking the law in their own country, and they knew it.

A photo blog without photos

December 9, 2011

By Desmond Boylan

Absolutely no choice. This photography blog post has no pictures. (Part 1)

I was recently driving towards Havana on a small, quiet country road in central Cuba. As I came onto a long stretch there was a truck moving slowly ahead of me in my lane, that suddenly stopped on the right side. I approached slowly knowing that in Cuba there are big potholes, very scarce and slow moving traffic, and cows, horses, hens and even children crossing the roads at any time, always without looking.

Monster smoke

May 5, 2011

I live in Cuba, cigar country by excellence, and I do like the smell and taste of burning cigars. I like the look of cigars, I like their tan color, and I like the way bugs and mosquitoes keep well away from me if I am smoking one. I like holding a cigar, I like the smell left inside empty cigar boxes, and I even like collecting the empty boxes. I really like giving good cigars as presents to friends who appreciate them.

Cuban “extreme” agriculture or extreme sport?

March 1, 2011

Cuban pruner or “desmochador,”  Omar Aguilar, carries his ropes on his shoulder as he walks through thick bush in a forest of Royal Palm trees. He is cool, walks slowly like a tiger looking for prey, but he is not hunting for animals.  He is hunting for a plant to feed pigs with. His job is to climb Cuban Royal Palms, the tall, majestic, hurricane-proof tree, and carefully lower its fruit to the ground.

Ultimate proof of life: Photographing Fidel Castro’s re-appearance

November 24, 2010

Nobody in Cuba or elsewhere believed the international press would be photographing former Cuban leader Fidel Castro again, in 2010.

A picture from both sides

October 21, 2008

There was great interest in the visit to Mexico by Cuba’s foreign minister Felipe Perez Roque, especially since Mexico’s previous President Vicente Fox had broken off diplomatic relations with the island nation. Adding to the expectation was the fact that the minister’s first attempt to visit Mexico this year was canceled when Cuba was hit by a hurricane.