Just got back from Havana, where I took a course with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb. This is my fifth trip to Havana, and finally changes seem to be in the air. Street vendors on most corners are selling vegetables, fruit, juice and other wares. These vendors are all licensed by the government, so that a share of their take goes into the state coffers, but the change seems to be bringing a sense of hope to the islanders.
The course was interesting because most of the attendees were from Norway and other parts of Scandanavia. Alex is with Magnum Photography, and employs a "multi-pictures within a picture" approach. He divides the frame using architecture or landscape features, and presents a number of scenes in a single photo. The scenes are thematically linked, creating a very interesting perspective. Trying to do this during the course proved very difficult, but was satisfying when success was achieved.
I stayed in a private home "a casa particular" and my landlord proved to be very interesting. In his living room was a photo of him and others conversing with Che Guevara. Turns out my landlord Jesus Parra was a founding member of Che's Column No 8, which was so effective in defeating Batista's troops. I took a copy of the picture, cleaned up the dust and damage, and sent back to him. No way of knowing if he received the photos.
We had an assistant from Havana at the course, a well-educated and traveled Cuban with amazing local knowledge. I plan to return to Cuba next year and I will get this fellow to locate a driver to take me all over the island, Trinidad, Santiago, and other places.