I woke up this morning to hear Fidel Castro is gone. I only photographed him twice during my time in Cuba in the late 90’s , here donning an uncharacteristic suit and tie as he honored a visit by Pope John Paul. Fidel was mostly hated in Miami by Cuban exiles and mostly loved in Cuba. For sure a controversial world leader who successfully defied the U.S. during his entire regime. He never gave up on his socialist ideals. I will return to Cuba in February to get a feel for Cuba now. I haven’t been on the island for 10 years. When people ask me to choose where I love photographing the most, for sure Cuba rises to the top of the list. While Fidel for sure always kept his anti US rhetoric on the front burner, at the very same time was wide open to international foreign visitors including Americans. Like many Cubans Fidel loved Americans albeit not the government after a time . After all it was the US who helped him crank up his revolution in the first place, later turning on him when he nationalized banks and businesses and forced many Cubans to Miami. It’s complicated to say the least. In any case Fidel never backed down and was never was overthrown. A hero in most of Latin America and yet his death is celebrated in Miami by those who were forced off the island during his revolution. All I know is that I’ve never met anyone who didn’t cherish their visit to Cuba.
When I was a kid I lived in my imagination. Like most kids. It didn’t take much for me to imagine myself as Robinson Crusoe stranded on an island or Huckleberry Finn on a journey down the river. I could run off into the woods and be lost in my own made up adventure. Also a time to think about who I really was and what I might try to become. Alone. I made it all up in my head. In the woods and dunes not far from where I just took this picture. When I fell in love with photography it happened in these woods and dunes. Photography allowed me to create a reality out of my imagination. With a camera I could make a physical tactile object that proved my fantasies were “real”. Not much has changed for me now as an “adult”. My real life adventures surpassed my pretending. I realized that if I could think of it, I could do it. Very much to my surprise. So when life gets chaotic as it always does, I head for these dunes and live oaks to think. Why wouldn’t I ? It worked for me as a child, it works for me now. I often travel to exotic places. Scroll back on this IG stream. Yet no matter where I am, no matter how fantastic the place might be, in the back of my head I’m dreaming to be here. I’m stuck here. The source.