"The aim of this collection of photographs and interviews, therefore, is to allow these drivers’ voices to be heard more clearly to those who might otherwise ride silently in the back of their cabs. My belief was that their stories, their opinions, and their hopes would provide a new perspective and understanding of Cuba as a people and a country, allow them to tell their own stories. The photographs were shot, with help from Alex Tremitiere, through conversations with the drivers, and they had a say in how they would be represented. All drivers were asked for permission to be quoted and photographed, and were compensated for their time and driving. Two last notes: I decided to focus on drivers under the age of 40 in an attempt to show drivers who are still young enough to be thinking about big-picture future plans; and I decided that each cab ride would involve asking the driver to take me to his favorite place in the city."
"An evaluation of the Chino-Cubano Community: Havana, Cuba El Barrio Chino is a community in Havana in which organic Chinese culture varies in prevalence; the number of first generation immigrants, now less than 200, is dwindling, and the Chinese culture therefore rests its laurels on a Chino-Cuban second generation, that maintains its Chinese roots through an amalgamation of Chinese and Cuban (and often ethnically ambiguous third party) pride. El Barrio Chino, I am really talking about one specific street: San Nicholás Street. The neighborhood is small to begin with, consisting of three vertical streets intersected by two cross streets, but San Nicholas is the street around which most of the area’s landmarks are centered: the Chinese school, the community center housing a large number of the city’s first generation immigrants, and the barrio’s most famous restaurant, The Sociedad Chang. This documentation of San Nicholás St. is not about about diasporic consequences or a population displaced; rather, it is about the newfound community fostered under the umbrella identity of cubanidad."
"I decided to do a black and white photoseries of the many Cubas I’d encountered in Havana and Viñales after watching Salt of the Earth, a film about photographer Sebastião Salgado. Salgado, who shoots in black and white, is able to focus in more on his subjects by removing the distraction of color. Though this island is known for its colorful, pastel-painted buildings, I did not want that color to define how I chose to portray Cuba. Like Salgado, I believe that I was able to more effectively portray emotion, textures and mood without the interference of color. There was also no way I could’ve removed my training in journalism from this experience. Because of it, every photo in this series has a story that goes along with it. There’s obviously no way for one person—one extranjera—to capture the feel of an entire island. I’ve attempted to portray what I’ve personally seen and experienced since I’ve been here, in black and white."
"I wonder how people can watch dance and say that they don’t understand what it is saying. I wonder how the people of Earth can be so separated by language when there is an existing universal language. I am not saying that dancers are superior because they spend more time tuning their body language, I am saying that we are all dancers and we can all benefit from honing in on the dancers in each of us."
There are many things that have affected my photography during my stay in Cuba: the food, the architecture, and the animals taking over the streets, but most importantly the people. They have a specific and embracing attitude towards life and those of us that inhabit this planet with them. They are welcoming and encouraging to others as they wish to share their experiences, fears, and hopes. What I noticed most about the people inhabiting this country is the intense amount of waiting, and the various methods in which people wait.
With the economic structure and in many ways lack of motivation found within this culture, many people partake in the game of waiting daily. Whether it’s waiting for love, waiting for a stop light, waiting in line at the grocery store, or waiting for the government to take 90 percent of the tobacco farm you have spent months growing, everyone handles waiting in different manors.
It is my intent to understand these different methods of waiting in Cuba in an attempt to understand the various methods of living in this pace. By doing so, I have myself understood a new respect for waiting and the patience experienced within this culture.