I still exist and I’m doing good. It’s sometimes challenging to continue to manufacture patience. I haven’t been able to get back to Cuba or to my friends or to make new work. Yes, I still have a little unpublished work to share – coming soon. Oh, I miss my friends. Meanwhile, fantastic illustrator, Alo created this cheeky and scintillating illustration of a classic image of virile Raudel. I am always so excited and honoured when artists re-interpret my images. Follow Alo on Instagram here. And if you came here looking for the original image, you can find it in the Members section in Raudel Returns at Jardines de la Polar.
You know that sound Waze – or whatever GPS toy you have – makes when you miss your turn or you go your own way? The Oops Recalculating alert? What an annoying sound that is. Imagine that sound over and over again. That’s my life lately. I make all my own choices and I make my own way too. And I try philosophically never to have regrets. I am so grateful for the experiences that I have had and the relationships I have made and for my fervent fans and collectors too. Like many, I have had been challenged continuing to be the person that I was. Lately, I have been re-purposing and re-calculating a newer life.
Meanwhile, I miss my work and my friends. And of course, I still hope to find time to dip into my passion and make and share more of my work. Don’t worry. I still have a couple of shoots left to process and share with you too. If you haven’t already, I invite you to check out Part 1 of Muses in the Museum with the Honeybrown Twins.
There’s a lovely crafts market tucked behind the Habana Libre in Vedado. It used to be lovelier, maybe; but so did everything. I picked up two of the simple white linen pants there nearly the first time when I was about to photograph twins Jean and Omar on the Habana Vieja roof just off Animas. And so started my accidental induction of the diaphanous white pants.
The pants – I picked up a spare pair a few years later and now I have three – are hermetically sealed and kept somewhere safe. Some new edits and outtakes with the inductees: Jean, Omar, Ricardo, Francisco, Marlon, Andro, Enrique, Jorge Luis, Daniel, Reinaldo, Alejandro, GNS, AJ, Ramudo, Rafael, Jose, Angelito, Ricardo and El Toro.
Half of my heart is in Havana. I am working to get back to Havana and I am working to put my life back together. Things fell apart a little last year – especially when my camera of only three years died. I have been missing opportunities for work and adventure for lack of a camera that I trust. So I’m creating this goal to replace my camera. I had a Nikon D610. I would like to replace it with a Nikon D750.
I have opportunities for work coming up soon. If I can sell a handful of prints, I will make my goal, and get a new camera. I miss the heft of a camera in my hands. I miss making images like I have been fortunate enough to make for over ten years. I am looking to get back on track, my friends. And I am making my own opportunities this year.
If you become a member or invest in a print or if you join my onlyfans page before I reach my goal, your name will be entered into a lottery to win a signed limited edition print (pictured above) of El Toro in the Raw, edition size limited to 5. I will contact the winner for preferred print size: either 12×18″ or 16×24″. This offer is open until I reach my goal. Again, you are eligible for this giveaway if you become a member, if you order a print, or if you join my onlyfans page.
Friends, fans, and followers: I remain humbled and grateful for your longtime support. For the resourceful or the enthusiastic I also take this opportunity to direct you to my gear wishlist here. And check out the new edits and outtakes from El Toro in the Raw Collection.
The first issue of @MALEsualityMag is available now. Get your copy at MALEsuality.com/mag featuring Joshua by Alex Hilbert, Mickey by Bradley Photo, and Ricardo by Kevin Slack. Illustration by the talented @wonkamon.
“Ricardo was introduced to me by mutual friends. I liked him immediately mostly because he was quiet, yes, almost inscrutably enigmatic, but always warm. Quiet like an ancient tree, or quiet like a mountain – he’s certainly big and solid like a mountain. Silent is not sullen. He volunteers to help me look for models and locations too for shooting, escorting me around Vedado to look at a few spaces he knows. And silent is not shy either. He’s quietly enthusiastic about my ideas and often eager to give me more than I ask. Silent is not arrogant either. He is undisturbed by other models or old ramshackle apartments or photo shoots at dawn.”
I have recently added a new set of photos with Ricardo. Ricardo is quiet and studious but not sullen. Still waters, maybe, rather than outright shyness. He enthusiastically volunteers to help me, finding me locations and models – which I appreciate so much. This time, Ricardo confides that he wants to try a few nudes where my camera substitutes for my gaze, and even though we only have this space – here with Ricardo – for a too-short time, my camera lingers. Unlike other models perhaps, Ricardo doesn’t come at you all at once. Instead, like the surf maybe, Ricardo offers a steady and resistless pull.
I have lost my payment gateway again – this time with thanks to the Trump administration. No, really. I no longer have any means to accept memberships on this site. If you are a current member, you will maintain your access. But I cannot sell any new memberships. Additionally, if you have a monthly recurring membership, that membership will end after the 6 month trialing period. I am out of options for payment gateways too for various reasons that seem mostly arbitrary to me.
This was never business, you understand. But I spend too much of my resources and entirely too much of my time on my photography. Yes, it always felt unseemly to market that work; but it gave me the opportunity to pursue my passion. To my supporters, I am so grateful and so flattered for your continued and enthusiastic support. It has meant so much to me and has giving me the chance to invest more of my resources and my time in what I do.
Not incidentally, and almost simultaneously with my payment gateway summarily rejecting my content, my camera of only three years broke. Irrevocably. It is dead and gone. It isn’t buried yet. I’m still deciding whether to jettison it gleefully off my roof or set it on broil for 15 minutes. Now I need to save up for a new camera. If anybody has a solid camera, I’d be very much interested in talking to you about buying it. My departed, but never very dear, camera was a Nikon D610. And all my lenses or Nikon. Though you might imagine I’m not terribly thrilled with Nikon right now. Nikon’s attempt to fix my dissatisfaction was to sell me, to try to sell me, a $3000 camera for $2800.
Yes, there is always perspective. The recent and relentless assault on Cuba has been heart-breaking. I have been in close contact with my friends and everybody is doing well enough. The destruction in Cuba has been so wide spread. But my friends are safe. A dear friend of mine in Cuba recently had to move away from home – it’s not especially common to leave your family in Cuba, although it happens – but Irma rendered his current home uninhabitable and he has had to move back home. I have been trying, sporadically, to help him. Home is not a good place for him and I am so sad that he has run out of options. If I can recover my moxie, I might start a Kickstarter or a GoFundMe page and try to assemble a monograph of my ten years in Cuba.
I appreciate so sincerely my handful of collectors. They really helped me – emotionally and financially – pursue my passion. I cannot say thank you enough. Yes, you can still use PayPal to order prints from my website. Recent collectors have admired how much they like my prints on the Semi-Lustre paper.
In the spirit of this Fire Sale – I was tempted to call it a Bankruptcy Sale, but we all can use a little hope – and to thank you for your continued support, I invite you to use the follow coupon for ordering prints, effective until November 30: FIRE25.
Blaring reggaeton, we drive from Santa Clara, through Remedios, to the seaside town Caibarien. At Caibarien, the tides are high and there are flashes of rain but we trek on, wading knee-deep through mud and sunken rock, to a secret corner of the world on the edge of the stretched-out sea where Ernesto, a bit of rough trick, through rain and sun, covered in salt water and buffeted by strong winds, cavorts and strips down because, sometimes, sometimes you just want to claim a private corner of the world and feel the sunlight on your skin. “Skin” is not the first thing I wanted to say.
I try to avoid nostalgia. I try to avoid looking back. And sometimes I fail. Nostalgia can be very seductive especially when it, when the moment, is unrecoverable, irretrievable. I had occasion lately to encounter again some older photos of Enrique and I just could not leave them alone. I could retrieve, if not the moment, the photos at least.
Often models run out of energy and enthusiasm before I do. Models know that “one more” never means “one more”. And this was Enrique at the end of a long early-morning shoot. He hadn’t nearly spent his enthusiasm or commitment or seduction either.
After cleaning off the sand from our beach shoot, I took the tireless Enrique to an old building, smeared in yellows and ochres, just in from Megano Beach. The little concrete building was covered in graffiti and littered with beer cans, rum bottles, cigarette butts and cigar stubs. Preparing these photos, I even got nostalgic for the graffiti, or the stories behind the graffiti. “Adonis y Wendy” – with crowns and hearts. “Te Amo Adonis – Wendy”. “Bebe, I need you – Wendy”. “Personas q’ vive de Amor A y W” – people who live by love. Just once, under Adonis’ name, in parentheses, “Iron Boys”. Did the Iron Boys still exist? Or did they grow out of their fervent but adolescent association? Did Adonis and Wendy still live by love? Did Wendy still need Adonis? Were they still together? I think that little yellow building just in from Megano Beach might be gone now. I returned to look for it once and found no trace of it.
Here’s my nostalgic turn for Enrique then, dedicated to people who live by love and to Adonis and Wendy. With much thanks to ADON Magazine and to Hommes Sans Frontieres (IG: @hommes_sans_frontieres) for another brilliant work.