| June 2022, Por Dahian Cifuentes


Sitting at the doorstep, waiting.

There is plenty of time to look, to talk, to smoke, even to smile at a prying camera. People in Havana like photos. A woman once asked me to take a photo of her. She said it was the only way she’d ever be able to travel, an easy way out.

Pobreza en Cuba, silla de madera, precariedad económica. Foto: Dahian Cifuentes.

In Havana, the front of every building becomes the perfect frame to examine any given situation.

Madre cubana, Cuba. Foto: Dahian Cifuentes.

The landscape is a path itself, and every shadow is a universe. The texture of its walls and its sidewalks, those vivid bright colors, the dancers of those age-old soulful constructions, the endless variety of skin tones, their cautious yet cheerful faces, a sweet or hesitant look in their eyes, and that distinct smell of coffee, rum, pizza, and humanity.


These portraits are images of time not passing by. Of melancholy. Of serendipity.

Those objects that seem to have been abandoned are actually as alive as their owners: three hanging bags that are getting dry, awaiting another opportunity to go to the market; a half-empty water jug; tobacco and cigars consumed by the soft humidity of lips; brief hangovers that account for authentic stories; even the scorching sun in the sky.

Cubanos cargan agua en un edificio, pobreza en Cuba. Foto: Dahian Cifuentes.

I like their staring eyes but also that lost gaze in them; I love that extended consciousness of nothing going unnoticed in the city.

Cubanos sentados junto a un auto antiguo en La Habana. Foto: Dahian Cifuentes.

I adore what you can see from inside their houses, that intimacy that becomes palpable in the image of a Yoruba saint, in a wheelchair, in a lonely basket of fruit, or in an egg carton.

Edificio en Cuba, custodio. Foto: Dahian Cifuentes.

I am fascinated by those staircases you never know where they lead to. In sum, Havana is a large house that, in every corner, treasures secrets that not even itself knows it must guard.

Dahian Cifuentes


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