BEHIND THE LENS
HAVANA, CUBA BY JAVIER GARCÍA
Born in 1986 in Cali, Colombia, photographer Javier García transitioned from the world of business and mass consumption to uncover a new reality through his lens. With his camera, he reveals the hidden beauty in the everyday and in those small details that often go unnoticed. Always focused on capturing the essence of each destination through its people, architecture and what makes each place unique, he takes us through the streets of Havana, Cuba, to discover the magic of the Pearl of the Antilles.
Tell us about your relationship with Havana.
Havana was always on my list of places to visit, but I had never sat down to investigate the city and plan the trip. The opportunity to do so came unexpectedly, which made it even more magical. Cuba is now among my favorite destinations to return to.
What is your one favorite thing about Havana?
The kindness of its people and their detachment for the material.
What could surprise a foreigner about Havana?
When you get off of the plane, it feels like you are stepping out of a time machine.
What would a perfect day in Havana look like for you?
Exploring the streets of Havana Centro, then, walking through the Capitol area and entering the Gran Teatro de la Habana. I’d walk up to Calle de Mercaderes, passing by Plaza Vieja, then eat and have a drink at La Vitrola. From there, I’d get into an old car to tour the rest of the center towards the boardwalk and watch the sunset.
Favorite word or slang?
Your best discovery?
Without a doubt, the Central Havana area. Most tourists focus only on Old Havana, which is clearly spectacular. However, in the downtown area the reality of the city is more present: the people, the music in the street, the children walking home from school, and even the type of currency.
Something everyone should know before arriving?
You will only use your cell phone as a camera. You disconnect to connect and be present in the moment.
Where should one go when in search of local culture?
FAC, the Cuban Art Factory, or the Experimental Graphics Workshop.
Best place to stay?
Rent a house from a local. The interiors look like a movie set.
What is the most representative place in Havana?
Paseo de Martí.
Ropa vieja with Cuban-style rice at the Paladar Doña Eutimia.
Where can you watch the sunset?
Walking along the Malecón, from the Castillo de San Salvador to Antonio Maceo park. It’s a place where locals meet to play chess with friends and fish.
A song that reminds you of this city?
Quien sabe sabe, by Rey Cabrera.
How do you define beauty?
The unexpected moments.
Photos courtesy of Javier Garcia.