With Cuban-American relations going through historic transformations, traveling to Cuba from the United States just became a lot easier. Great news for those interested in joining our Cuba photography workshop !
New regulations allow Americans to travel to Cuba independently on what they refer to as “people-to-people” trips, by which they mean trips that focus on meeting ordinary Cubans. These trips do have to fall under one of 12 categories, including academic trips, sports competitions, journalistic projects, and, relevant to us, cultural workshops. These workshops have to include a full-time schedule of activities, which our photo workshops do. Add new direct flights between the US and Cuba to the mix, and it’s suddenly a whole lot easier for Americans to join us.
Andrew Bell, one of the photographers who lead these Cuba photography workshops, explains things a bit further:
“Cuba is a country where things haven’t changed for a very long time but are now moving at a staggering pace. I’ve been visiting and working there for a number of years and the amount of change I’ve seen in the last twelve months is incredible. Now with the “normalisation” process coming in from the US, it can be difficult to keep up with changes, even for those of us who know the country and are familiar with the complexities of the visa system.
Our photography workshops can be classified under the new people-to-people rule for travel from the US; the majority of each day is spent out in Havana (and Trinidad depending on the photo tour) meeting, talking and interacting with Cubans. We have connections around the country who help us to organise accommodation with Cuban families, which means we’re either staying with them or renting apartments or villas directly. There will be continuous opportunities to practice Spanish and almost every Cuban I’ve ever met is happy to stop and talk with visitors to the country about their culture, history, life, etc. We will be visiting museums and galleries during the trip too; there really is no end to the possibilities for learning about Cuban history and culture.
The trips can be classified under the “Arts and Culture” regulations as we have a schedule for the week and pre-defined activities. We also work closely with a major cultural organisation based in Havana, which allows us to arrange meetings with local artists and Cuban photographers when there is an interest in this. Prior to arrival you will receive a tailored, personal photography course, based on information you provide around your interests, photographic level and what you would like to achieve. Throughout the trip we will work against this plan to produce a body of work, or small project. If you would like to, the final results can also form part of our in-house magazine which we produce post the trip and is published and read internationally, online.”
Images: Andy Scaysbrook