I recently traveled to Cuba on a job for the surf clothing brand Roark. It was a place I’d always wanted to go because of the seemingly endless opportunities to capture stunning imagery.
The trip proved a rare opportunity for me to get away from the surf and shoot in a more documentary style. We explored the city of Havana and tried to focus on and highlight the locals in their daily lives — I aimed to draw viewers in with an intimate look into Cuban culture and its energetic capital.
The shoreline was a central place of community from sunrise until sunset. In the evening hours, the calm ocean blanketed the quiet city.
Pristine light paired well with the timeless cars as they drove along the Malecón. The evening light was soft and almost dreamlike throughout the city.
Even for a first-time visitor like myself, Cuba gives a feeling of arriving in a place you remember from childhood and seeing it hasn't changed at all.
The streets were filled with crumbled buildings, brand new ones intermixed every block or so. I wished I could have walked down every street we passed, as it seemed each had new things to explore.
This mother was checking in on her kids as they played soccer in the street. We were lucky enough to share a few games with them and they loved every minute of it. No matter where I travel, soccer seems to be the universal language I can always speak with the locals.
The rooftops gave an interesting perspective on the heart of Havana.
This was our driver, our key to getting us everywhere we wanted to go.
Elements of Spanish, Moorish, and French architecture bounced by as we drove through Havana. Each street brought a new scent and a new scene.
The rain didn't keep the people off the streets. No matter the hour, there were always crowds out and about in Havana.
Two taxi drivers took time on their lunch break for a chess match. At this point it was anyone's game.
Throughout the day the Malecón was always a focal point of social life, as residents jumped from the rocks into the ocean.
Often a quick hello would turn into a long conversation. This man told us much about his country and its people.
Cubans have some of the raddest haircuts. This local boy wasn't quite sure why I was so interested in his.
A local boy bidding his friends farewell after an afternoon of rock jumping and ocean swimming. The Cuban equivalent of a water park.
Again, the Malecón was the perfect place to people-watch.
Up until the last few years, only vehicles built before 1959 (the year of the Cuban Revolution) were allowed to trade hands on the open market. This means that Cuba's automotive landscape is filled with an excess of classic American iron.
People have become so accustomed to owning these old cars that repairing them is just a part of the routine.
There are parts of Havana that have very few street lights. The sun is a precious thing when it comes to keeping the city lit. Slowly, the light of the day fades and the city takes on a new feel.
On the last night of our trip, the crew piled into a taxi to head back to the airport. We had finally gotten used to driving around in these old classic cars, and it was already time to head on out. Something about it made the nostalgia of trip's end that much more potent.