I recently had the opportunity to create work for THE EIGHTH in Cuba – where I worked with Jorge Luis and Ricardo and new recruit, Yunier in the heart of Old Havana in La Casa de los Marquéses de Arcos.
La Casa de los Marquéses de Arcos, like so much of Havana, is currently under renovation. Fernando, the construction boss, was happy to provide me with hard hats and overalls and even picks and axes. But, curiously, he had no boots. I had also arranged with Fernando to work on a Sunday when nobody was scheduled to work. However, Fernando called me on Saturday night to explain that deadlines and work have been recently accelerated and so there would be teams working. I was welcome to claim a space, he said, while assuring me that I would be left alone to my work.
When we arrived early Sunday morning before 8am there were already groups of tourists on Mercaderes street marveling at the old mansion. That’s a new trend: organized consumption. Inside, the construction boss gave me another tour of the space. I looked for an interesting space with more light and less workers. With groups of tourists wandering in off the street, it was smarter to work upstairs. And so we settled on a large room on the top floor facing Mercaderes street. We had spotted at least a dozen workers in various cavernous rooms that honeycombed off the main open square that cut right down the middle of the mansion. They were chipping at walls, or busy with woodwork or ironwork and, indeed, they had no boots. They were working in sneakers.
At our work, we were not left alone as much as we had been promised. At first, workers would pass by but much too slowly. Before long, the more curious or the more brave just stood around and watched. But there was nothing to do for it and the models did not mind. The painting on the wall in some of these photos is original work dating from at least before 1844.
THE EIGHTH visits Havana on The Underwear Expert: http://www.underwearexpert.com/2016/04/the-eighth-in-cuba/
I’ve also added a new gallery of El Toro to my portfolio: Brutal Tranquility – Studies of El Toro. I shot El Toro in Los Jardines de Hershey near Santa Cruz del Norte. We found a quiet spot by a river near a short but rambunctious waterfall and set to work. He appears as glorious as ever in his birthday suit on the top of the hills about the town that Hershey built. Yes, it was his birthday.