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Cuba seemed frozen in time. The cobblestone streets, the crumbling yet still elegant buildings, the late -‘50s vintage American cars – surely this place hadn’t changed since 1961. This wasn’t the Cuba I had expected. There was joy, a warmth and an unselfconscious sensuality about the people; their lives were centered on family and friends, simple values and virtues. Forced to live with the bare essentials, they only seemed to have become more creative.
I was fortunate enough to visit Cuba just as it was emerging from a 40-year slumber to reap the benefits of growing tourism industry and an influx of U.S. dollars. This isn’t a bad thing in my view; it means jobs and an opportunity to make its rich culture accessible to more people. My goal was capture Cuba’s pre-capitalist integrity – the people, the architecture, the culture – before it disappeared.