I photographed the Cuba images as a student during world-renowned photojournalist Peter Turnley’s 2013 Havana, Cuba workshop, which then became part of my first photography book Flow and Reflections.
In 2015, Turnley was the first American artist since the Cuban revolution to be given a major exposition at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana.
As Mike Johnston wrote in The Online Photographer, Cuba is picturesque and attracts many photographers by its intriguing mix of bright colors, poverty and obsolete ‘50s American cars, but sometimes these elements overshadow the deeper qualities of the Cuban people’s resilient and vibrant spirit. Hopefully my black-and-white street photography in Havana transcends these most obvious features, and perhaps transcends also politics and change to show timeless scenes of everyday Cuban life.
As I walked through many exciting neighborhoods of the city, including Havana Vieja, Centro Havana, the oceanside promenade Malecón, the Prado, the community of Regla, and other neighborhoods of Havana, I was naturally drawn to photographing the mother-and-child theme and love between them in particular, perhaps because I have little experienced it myself. The image closest to my heart is the mother and daughter crossing the street. I preferred to catch movement, but the scene that followed shows them on the other side of the road standing in a warm embrace as the mother caresses her child’s cheek. When looking through the window of Cuba, if one patiently allows scenes of daily life to develop naturally before one’s eyes, such emotionally rich, timeless moments can be found at every turn.
About Florence Gallez
Florence Gallez is an independent documentary photojournalist and black and white photographer from Brussels, Belgium, currently based in Paris. Gallez received a BA degree in English and Russian from the University of London in 1996, an MSc in journalism from Boston University in 1999, and a digital media focused MSc from MIT in 2012. She spent eight years as a Moscow-based journalist covering Russian politics, economics, society, and culture for The Moscow Times, the U.S. publisher Bureau of National Affairs (Bloomberg BNA), and most recently CNN’s Moscow Bureau. As a photographer of social documentaries, she seeks to bring more visibility to people who are in challenging situations and often not cared for by society, especially women and children. In Paris, she is also contributing local and international news and social documentaries to the French photo agency Wostok Press.