Monday, 28 December 2009

Sky. Sea. Stones.

Far too much interior activity and the need to road test a new bicycle (with stabilisers),necessitated a visit to where we always head when in need of some clear head space; Aldeburgh. After good portion of hearty fish and chips and a fresh stroll down to 'The Shell' (Maggie Hambling's sculpture in honour of Benjamin Britten - actually called 'The Scallop', but not by my kids) we return refreshed and ready for more Wii action, turkey sandwiches and Adnams beer. Maybe it's my graphic sensibilities but I love the linear landscape of the Suffolk coast here. It's about as minimal as it gets. It's all about the light. Isn't it always?

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

White Christmas

This is the hill I used to sledge on as a kid. It's still the hill I sledge on, but now with my kids. It doesn't look much but it's perfect - just long enough to not have to have a really long hike back to the top, so it feels like you get more rides! Just hoping the snow sticks around for Dec 25th, that would be a great Christmas morning.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Hemingway Finca

I just found these. I'd been meaning to upload them for a while. They are pictures I took at the Ernest Hemingway Finca outside Havana in October.

Hemingway lived in the house on and off for 20 years from the late 30's. After his suicide in 1962, Castro ordered that the house be left as it was and turned into a museum in a memorial to his friend.

It's an incredible place. Fairplay to Fidel for having the foresight to keep it as it was (mind, the whole country is like it was). You can't actually go in, you have to walk around the outside and look through the windows. I love the decor. It's very early - mid 20C American and the old books, wood and stuffed animals just give it this great aged smell that reminds me of summer camp in Wisconsin. It's more JCrew, Ralph and Gant than any of them could dream of. If you're thinking of shooting there... forget it. They're not interested.

It's a proper man's house. Except for the floral armchairs. What are those all about Ernest?

The entrance to the living room

The living room

An office adjoining the guest room

The guest room

Even books in the bathroom!

Nice. A pickled baby alligator and bat. Just what every bathroom needs.

Dressing room.

Shoes for life.

Another office with views to Havana.

The dining room.

Another office in a garret. Apparently Ernest never used it.

Pilar, Hemingway's boat which he used for marlin fishing and also, less conventionally, searching for German U-boats in the war between Cuba and Florida.

The Pool must have stories to tell.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

René Burri

Bought a lovely book in Havana called Un Mundo by René Burri. He is a Swiss photographer, born in 1933, who took many pictures of Che. This accounts for his popularity in Cuba. The book is beautiful, this shot in particular. I'd love to think this image was just fortuitous, but in this business... who knows? I'm thinking about shooting a lot in New York these next few months and might just have to pay homage to this shot - before someone else does.

Hide and Seek

Power to the People

If you're after an interesting piece of Che Guevara memorabilia from a trip to Cuba, you would probably do just as well to visit Camden Market. However, I was delighted to find this original 1967 screenprint poster in a small bookshop on Obispo in Havana.

Roberto, the genial dreadlocked guy in the store, ushered us through to the dusty back room to show us dozens of fantastic original posters. I picked this one. It originally hung in offices on the Revolution Square as a tribute when Che was killed in 1967. There were about 10 in total and between us we cleared Roberto out.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Rafael Trejo Gimnasio de Boxeo, Old Havana

One evening in Havana, Mr Natty (a keen amateur pugilist) and I took a visit to the famous Rafael Trejo boxing gym. Armed only with a scrawled note of the gym's name and my blind faith that Natty actually had a clue, we hailed a cab. Unfortunately it wasn't a cab. It was some poor Cuban chap who was merely dropping some friends off in front of the Capitolio. We mistook him for a taxi driver. The unfortunate fellow then had to listen to a mixture of, firstly, English and, latterly (after he explained his grandmother was from Genoa), Italian to direct him to our fabled destination.

Once there we met the lovely Lucia who is, in her own words 'The Boss' and Alberto, a great heavyweight of a coach who devotes most of his time to training the next generation of Cuban hopefuls. He looked as hard as they come, but then he did live in Newcastle and South London for a bit. Anyway after much Mr Natty patter and a fair donation to help buy equipment we were invited in to have a look around and watch the kids train. Mr Natty also donated some boxing gloves that he had bought from a local street hawker. It was a nice gesture, but they had the exact same ones in the gym and it just looked as though he was returning them. He probably was.

The light was falling very fast when we arrived, it was a beautiful evening and the little guys were really being put through their paces. A couple of them were like lightning and it was a job to keep up with them even at 1200ISO. Anyway here are a few shots to give you a flavour. It was a real pleasure to meet Alberto and Lucia and hear about their passion for the gym. You can tell it's a real release for the young lads who train there and they go about their training with gusto. They might not have much but they've got what you can't buy... a lot of heart. Saying that, they could still do with gumshields, gloves etc. So if you find yourself in Old Havana be sure to drop in and drop something off.

Harley in Cuba

Shot with a lovely little app called VintageMaker, taking me right back to a Cine8 world. Sod HD, I think the world looked nicer like this.

Cuba Polaroids

This is a street leading off from a lovely piazza where they shot an early scene in the 1962 movie Soy Cuba. It's a Russian / Cuban movie that is a great introduction to Cuba in a pre-revolution world. Check it out.

These kids were playing some kind of streetball game. Smacking a small ball against a wall and arguing like it was the World Cup Final.

Check out Mr Natty (blog link to the right) astride this beast. Beats a Vespa, hey natty boy?

After a little hiatus, here are some polaroids from my recent (second) trip to Havana. Unfortunately I didn't have my Polaroid gizmo with me on that occasion as a result of being careless with my iPhone on the last train home. Hence, I went a bit potty taking lots of snaps now I've got the new one.