I mentioned that we had our final class yesterday, Saturday. This class was a little different than the previous ones. Rather than bring in a set of images from the prior day’s shooting, we were told to bring in our Top 10 for the week. It was interesting in a number of ways.
No one actually arrived in class with their homework assignment complete. All of us – including me – spent the first part of the class trying to get this set collected. I got mine done a bit more quickly than most people, but was still late. Here they are (1):
My “Top 10” (in no particular order), February 2019
Then, for each of us, Steve showed his selection of our Top 10 images. For me, as well as for the others, there was substantial overlap but not complete agreement. He and I agreed on six, and chose four different images to complete the set (2).
I think we all enjoyed seeing each others Top 10, as well as Steve’s Top 10 for each of us as well as his own Top 10 images. The conversation around the selections was enlightening. He’s developed into a good teacher, and provides feedback in a very constructive and non-threatening way.
Today, Sunday, there’s no class. I went out to shoot for an hour, and took some tourist snaps. We all said goodbye, sometimes several times, as we kept running into each other in the hotel lobby or at breakfast.
Saturday, March 1, 2019 – Postscript
Looking at these Top 10 (or 11) images as I write this, I realize that I would make different selections now. Some of these would make the cut, but not all. I’m also pretty sure that if you ask me a year from now, I’ll again make different selections. That’s okay, as art is not really a competitive activity.
But none of that really matters. This week was an intensive exercise in shooting, editing, processing, receiving and giving criticism, and working hard on finding and making the best images I could. While I’ve photographed shows and sports before, nothing compared with the speed and action from either the boxing or ballet shoots. The street shooting was as fertile as anywhere I’ve been.
This week was also spent with an interesting group of new colleagues from across the country (plus Canada and Cuba). As I’ve experienced in previous workshops, each of the participants made images that I wish were mine – regardless of their so-called skill level (which ranged from beginner to professional) or equipment (which ranged from pocket cameras to the newest and most sophisticated cameras on the market). And I’m still struggling to figure out how I never saw some of those images, despite walking the same streets at the same time as they did.
This week was also a fascinating look at a city and a culture that has been made into an evil place by our leaders for more than 50 years – since I was a child. The people I met were certainly not evil. The Cuban embargo is way past it’s sell-by date. These are just people, trying to get by, and living their lives. The embargo affects them much more than it affects the political leadership of the country. We may think those old cars are cute, but I’m sure most Cuban car owners would trade them for a boring new Toyota in an instant. The limited availability of various types of food and manufactured goods is obvious and extreme. The infrastructure, despite construction all around the city center, is crumbling and they can’t keep up. Municipal services, such as sanitation and water, are not what we would be happy with.
So there you have it. A week in Havana, spent well.
(1) Yes, I know there are 11. They’re all my children. I got it down from 6,000 to 11, but don’t make me go any further.
(2) You’re probably wondering which of my images he preferred, and which he didn’t select. I can’t tell you. Due to technical difficulties, I’ve lost his selections.