Life is lived on the streets in Havana. From dawn to past midnight, the ballet of street life in Cuba’s capitol city is in constant motion and alive with the heartbeat of the island’s rich culture. As such, Havana is a city that is best seen and discovered on foot and experienced through conversation with the friendly “Habaneros” going about their day to day lives. Jennifer Spelman and Sandor Rodriguez are your photographic guides into the vibrant streets of Havana.
Cuba’s people are the country’s treasure and its most dynamic force. They are generous of spirit, resourceful, resilient, and incredibly open to sharing their personal lives and their country with visitors. With open eyes and hearts, we delve beneath the surface facades and into everyday life in Havana to better understand this intriguing and complicated country through meaningful exchanges with the Cuban people.
Our days begin at first light with excursions to the far corners of Havana to make images of a city awakening. A healthy breakfast nourishes and gives us a chance to catch our breath. Each day we venture out to specially selected locations to meet the Cuban people and better understand their lives within present-day Havana. Taking advantage of the beautiful natural light and stunning surroundings in locations such as the ciudadelas (little cities) of Old Havana, Centro, Malecón, Monte, Cayo Huseo, Barrio Chino, Vedado, and Santo Suarez we make new images. Against these backdrops and in conjunction with insightful conversations with Cubans living and working in Havana, an authentic portrait of Havana emerges.
COVID-19 Update: For all in-person workshops and trips in 2023, Santa Fe Workshops highly recommends that all participants, staff, and instructors attending be up to date with Covid vaccinations (per definition of the CDC). For international trips, local laws will apply, so it is important that you confirm you will be fully vaccinated according to the countries on your trip.
This SFW Cuba program is open to amateur, advanced amateur and professional photographers. Enrollment is limited to eight participants.
Participants should be technically self-sufficient, as this is not a program to learn how to use your gear or editing software. Participants should be in very good health with good stamina and mobility, as long days are spent exploring—this means walking, sometimes for two to three hours at a time, occasionally up steep stairs, steep hills, and along uneven terrain.
Jennifer Spelman is a documentary photographer and member of the Jibaro Photos Collective. She is co-publisher of CubaSeen, a quarterly magazine showcasing photography and writing about Cuba.
Jennifer received her photographic training as an assistant with Santa Fe Workshops, working with some of today’s most preeminent photographers: Jay Maisel, Norman Mauskopf, and Joe McNally.
A sensitive photographer of people, Jennifer strives to create portraits with energy and insight. She is most at home on the streets of Havana and has worked with Santa Fe Workshops across Cuba since 2011. Jennifer is a patient educator who has co- instructed with National Geographic Expeditions and taught workshops in Romania, India, Mexico, Japan, in addition to Cuba.
A popular workshop instructor, Jennifer is also part of our Mentorship Program »
In 2012 Sandor was working professional guide for the historian office of Havana and first began using his camera as a documentary tool. In 2016 he started working as a photography guide and instructor with Santa Fe Workshops and Norfolk Academy Literacy Fellows among others. In 2017, he participated in the 1st Photography Hall of the Academy of Art and Photography Cabrales del Valle obtaining two mentions. In 2017 he exhibited at the Fototeca de Cuba together with the most prestigious photographers of Cuba. Since 2019 he has also been working as a curator in the Raul Corrales Gallery located in Havana.