In June, 2009, I spent a week exploring the streets of Havana, camera in hand. Havana is both ugly and beautiful, rich and poor. Most streets are dusty, buildings are in a state of terrible disrepair, and those gleaming 1950's cars belch out a ton of noxious fumes. And yet, so much of Havana's inherent beauty lies in the faded, peeling paint and cracked facades of the neglected buildings. Despite their decay, they retain an elegant aura of a bygone era.
The true beauty of Havana is in its citizens. I have not met a warmer, friendlier people in all my travels. But a walk down any side street reveals the extensive poverty and political limitations imposed upon them.
There is a dichotomy between the once decadent lifestyle of the Mafia of yesteryear and the inhabitants, under communism, living in these decaying homes today. The people may be poor in material wealth, but are rich in spirit. Through my photographs I want to capture both this human spirit and the urban setting, not focusing on either one, but rather the interplay between them.
My body of work does not do justice to the hardships faced by Cubans, but rather it is an intimate portrait of the extraordinary people, culture and vibe of Havana.