February 7 – 14, 2019
Documentary, Landscape & Nature, Portraits, Travel, One-of-a-Kind
Unplug and return to Cuba with Santa Fe Workshops in a small group of no more than seven photographers to continue your photographic exploration of the island. Jennifer and Carlos are your guides and mentors on this unforgettable journey.
Cuban cigars are widely accepted as the best in the world. What makes them so admired is a mixture of fact and fiction. The mystique of the Cuban cigar has been cultivated by Cuba itself, in part through the most legendary faces of the island—Fidel Castro and Ernest Hemingway. The reality is the tobacco plant is indigenous to the island and the climate and rich sandy loams of the Pinar del Río region are ideal for growing it. The first plantations arose in the 18th century and tobacco quickly became, after sugar, Cuba’s second most important crop.
Join Jennifer Spelman and Carlos Otero for a well-planned adventure to Cuba’s most scenic region. Our Tobacco Road trip explores Cuba’s western-most province and the dramatic beauty of the Viñales Valley. We travel back in time to a quieter and simpler Cuba where small, independent farmers work family plots and use ox-power to plow their fields. Leisurely traversing the lush countryside, we meet the generous Cuban people to discover the essence of their lives and culture with our curiosity and our cameras.
We arrive in Havana on February 7 and after enjoying a light lunch outside of town, depart by van to the verdant Valle de Viñales, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Our comfortable casa particulars are located a few blocks from the village center of tranquil Viñales and feature large front patios with rocking chairs perfect for unwinding after a day exploring in the countryside.
Over the next four days, we slowly meander through the beautiful landscapes and visit the Pinar del Río province. Our travels take us off the tourist path, exploring authentic fincas to engage with the humble local farmers and their welcoming families. We make photographs as they harvest their delicate tobacco crop and ready the broad, flat leaves to be hauled off by slow-moving oxen for storage before the sorting and drying process. Excursions to Minas de Mahatambre—a small rural town remembered for traditional copper mining—and to the nearby idyllic coastal villages fill the remainder of our time in the countryside.
We take a different route to travel slowly back to Havana, stopping along the way to photograph in small towns. Our last full day is a free day to re-explore Havana at your leisure and to visit some of your favorite haunts, culminating that evening with a lively group dinner and an image presentation of the best photographs from our trip. We depart for Miami the next day and bid farewell to Cuba, until our next visit to this remarkable country.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
This Cuba Unplugged program is open to amateur, advanced amateur and professional photographers who have traveled to Cuba with Santa Fe Workshops, with another group, or on their own. Enrollment is limited to seven participants.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Participants need to be technically self-sufficient, as this is not a workshop to learn how to use your gear or editing software. Participants need to be in good health and mobile, as long days are spent exploring Cuban towns and the countryside.
Enrollment is limited to seven participants. Participants make their own air travel arrangements to arrive in Havana in time for an early afternoon departure from the Havana Airport (airport code HAV). Once the trip is confirmed, travel details, suggestions, and tips to help participants travel to Cuba are provided.
Refer to Package Price description for details on lodging and meals.
PACKAGE PRICE INFO:
$4,975 includes single occupancy accommodations for seven nights ($200 discount for couples and friends traveling together and sharing a room); breakfast daily plus three group meals; airport transfers in Cuba, and ground transportation in Cuba. Airfare to Cuba is not included, as well as required Cuban health insurance and Cuban visa.
About The Instructors
Jennifer Spelman is a freelance editorial and documentary photographer. She received her photographic training as an assistant with The Workshops, working with some of today’s most preeminent photographers: Jay Maisel, Norman Mauskopf and David Alan Harvey.
A sensitive photographer of people, Jennifer strives to create portraits with energy and insight. Her clients have included Village Science, Seven Squared Media, The Heart Gallery, What Moves You, Sanjhi, and Sustainable Santa Fe. Jennifer is a patient educator who has co-instructed with National Geographic Expeditions and taught workshops in India, Mexico, Japan, and Cuba. This is her 11th year teaching at The Workshops and her website is www.jenniferspelman.com.
Carlos Otero is a Havana-born, award-winning photographer who specializes in underwater photography as well as photographing interiors. His book Dormir Con … (Sleeping With …) is a collection of photographs of over 700 bedrooms across Cuba he made with fellow photographer Enrique Rottenberg.
Carlos has worked with Santa Fe Workshops since 2010 leading groups through his native country. You can view some of Carlos’ Dormir Con … work here: www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/photos-sleeping-cuba.