Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus
THE BLOG

Photo Essay: Old Town Scenes

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Beyond the cute tourist zone of Old Havana (Havana Vieja), the rest of the city provides a jarring contrast. The cityscape is three layers of architecture: a melting-sugar-cube world of delightful Art Deco, brutal Soviet functionalism, and current no-frills construction -- cinderblock painted in playhouse colors. Exploring it is easy. I found that, unless a door is locked, it's all public.

Families live in street-level apartments, just steps away from major monuments. When roaming the streets of Havana, you're treated to intimate peeks into domestic worlds. Tiny family rooms are filled with Grandma-vintage heirloom furniture, as three generations ignore a blaring TV. Just as the cars are in a 1950s time warp, so are the living rooms. It's often the lighting that catches your eye: backlit, toned, and dark-skinned bodies shiny with sweat and wearing clothes that seem to fit the decrepit walls that corral all that Cuban conviviality.

As a photographer, it's easy to romanticize poverty. But the daily reality of some of the people I met is miserable. For this reason, I found walking the streets both fun...and troubling.