Havana, Cuba pulses like no other city in the world in its surreal present state. Straddling between socialism and capitalism, decay and glamour, riotous colors and melancholy interiors, the city races in many opposite directions due to its arrested development toward an uncertain future. The small but resilient island of Cuba is once again a land of light, song, and hope.
The people of Cuba are the country’s treasure and its most dynamic force. They are friendly and generous of spirit, resourceful and resilient, and are incredibly open to sharing their personal lives and their country with visitors. This people-to-people cultural exchange with led by portrait photographer Zack Arias allows you the opportunity to meet and interact with Cubans from all walks of life.
With intoxicating Havana as our springboard, our group sets out through the streets and neighborhoods to engage with the extraordinarily attractive, dignified, and resourceful Cuban people. Their vibrant culture is illustrated through meaningful interactions as we discover an authentic Cuba often unseen by those visiting the island. Each day we venture out and visit markets, dance companies, artist studios, sporting events, street festivals, and musical performances—journeys that allow each participant to exchange ideas with Cuban artists, students, musicians, farmers, small business and restaurant owners, dancers, and fishermen.
To offer you unparalleled access to the inhabitants and culture of Cuba two English-speaking, Havana-based Cuban photographers serve as your local guides and translators for this cultural educational exchange. In alliance with Cuba’s premier photographic organization, Fototeca de Cuba, and its director, Nelson Ramírez, our unique program allows the U.S. participants to learn about Cuba's long and colorful history and it’s exciting future.
Our home for the week is Convento Santa Brigida, a beautifully restored convent in the heart of Old Havana, one block from Plaza Vieja. Featuring simple but comfortable accommodations with private bathrooms, light-filled group meeting spaces, a library, a chapel, and nuns as our lovely hosts, the convent is a serene base to return to after the daily adventures in bustling Havana and the nearby countryside.
Our 8-day, U.S. government-approved program offers an educational exchange with the Cuban people as well as a rich photographic experience. One-on-one review sessions with Zack and two group image reviews offer feedback on images made and advice given for improving your photography. In addition, Zack demonstrates his signature lighting style using small strobes on location in Havana. Kip Brundage, Cuba Program Director for Santa Fe Workshops, joins this trip with Dan to handle logistics as well as offer his vast knowledge of Cuba.
With a camera as your entrée into people’s lives, join Zack on his fourth trip to Cuba for an inspiring week that expands your photographic life as well as your understanding of the inhabitants of this beguiling island and opens the door to their quickly changing world.
True to the requirements of a people-to-people General License with U.S. Treasury Department, Portrait of Havana focuses on educational exchanges with the Cuban people and recording their amazing lives with our cameras.