The Eyes Have It

For the Lens Artists Photo Challenge Tina’s topic is “The Eyes Have It”. She has some wonderful interpretations of the subject and if you haven’t yet, I encourage you to have a look here. Of course, my interpretation is classic – street portraiture. For my submission, here’s a post from my archives.

I’m a fan of street photography but when I’m on the street, I focus mainly on light and composition. It’s in the post-processing that I look for finer details. For street portraits, it begins with the eyes.

On a trip to Cuba, I was tramping through the grounds of an industrial property when I noticed this fellow having his lunch.  My first instinct was to turn away – I was trespassing – but then he waved hello.  Like everyone I’d met in that sleepy town, he was friendly and curious about what I was doing. 

Eyes - Cuba-2150137

He told me about his work; it had something to do with digging utility poles and hauling them around in his ’60s-era truck.  My Spanish is limited but I knew just enough to give an illusion of understanding.  I nodded wisely and asked if I could take his photo.

Eyes - Cuba-2150144

I met this other fellow several times over the duration of the trip.  He was a musician in the local band and I’d seen him perform in the town square and at different venues in tourist resorts. On this particular day, he welcomed a group of us to his workshop where he built and repaired guitars.

Eyes - Cuba-2190508

Cuba is a resource poor country and musicians have a hardscrabble life. Instruments are lovingly cared for and repaired with scraps and homemade glue. Basic supplies like guitar string are hard to find, much less afford.

After watching him repair an old guitar, someone in our group said that he’d send supplies. Through an interpreter, the American commissioned him to build an instrument and send it to him in the States. I watched the interaction and couldn’t help thinking that the Cuban was both hopeful and dubious of the offer. How many times I wondered, had promise been mistaken for intent?

Eyes - Cuba-2190520

Photos taken in Cuba, 2018


    1. It’s all about perspective isn’t it. The view from the inside is rarely the same as from outside. I don’t think he cared much about the view outside of Cuba. He cared about his livelihood, his aging mother and his family. Like everyone else, anywhere else.

      Liked by 1 person

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