We’re so happy to welcome travel photographer Marcus Baldwin to Places We Go this month! A real traveller at heart, he also happens to take amazing photographs wherever his journeys take him across the planet.
When we asked Marcus what he loves about taking photos on the road he told us, “I love arriving into a new city, checking into my hotel, grabbing the camera gear and heading off into random directions to find the city and its people. Whichever way the tourists are going, I go in the opposite direction. The most joy comes from when you find that one shot.”
And now we’re very excited to share Marcus’ amazing photographic journey through Cuba with you – and there’s definitely more than one great shot here! Enjoy getting to know the newest member of the PWG family as you meander along Cuban streets through Marcus’ lens and his insights to this fascinating country…
I can’t say that I’m a believer in Castro’s ideals however this campaign art splashed across the country is mesmerising. This iconic imagery of rebel leaders Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos is a common site across the decaying walls of Cuba. I particularly love this shot with the morning sun and the modern day cubans in their cool denim, singlets and trainers with the background of the decrepit city and the oversized typography and stencil wall art. Like all Cubans, I found myself drawn to all things Fidel & Che.
Colours of Cuba
Yoel (pronounced ‘YO L’)
La Bodeguita Medio
How did you get into travel photography?
That’s a big question. I guess it’s been a very long journey. From a travel point of view, my family has been the biggest influence. As a 7 year old in the mid 80’s I was lucky enough to travel internationally with my parents, brother and sisters into South East Asia. Travelling through cities like Bangkok and Hong Kong at such a young age had a huge influence on me. Everything was so different from the little farming town I grew up in country NSW. I remember being blown away by the amount of people in Bangkok and all the oversized golden Buddhist temples, not to mention the famous monks and the floating markets.
I still have all my photos from that first international trip on slide film. Later on I got the travel bug from my older brother. He was always taking off on 6 months journeys through places like Peru, Bolivia and La Paz. I once remember getting a postcard from him from a place called Oludeniz in Turkey (I couldn’t believe there was an actual place called Turkey!). I visited Oludeniz last year, 20 years after I got that postcard. Still my most favourite beach in the world.
From a photography point of view I studied here in Melbourne, however I’ve felt I’ve learnt the most from just ‘taking photos’ and not spending too much time reading online manuals. My first real travel photography journey was to Burma and Cambodia. Carrying camera gear into those countries 13 years ago taught me a lot. In terms of how to approach people and just taking time to find the right shots. Nothing like learning on the job.
What kind of feel do you seek to create in your photos?
Street photography with an edge. Interesting faces, bright colour combinations and dynamic architecture. I love people in their environment and finding the underground of a city.
How did you like Cuba? And the locals?
Cuba was a dream trip come true. It had everything I imagined. Riding in vintage cars and hanging in bars listening to music are probably my two favourite things to do. The people are incredible. It’s actually the safest country in the Americas. I had so much joy walking down the streets at any time of the day hanging with the locals, being invited into their homes, drinking sangria, playing backgammon and dancing in the street.
What are your best 3 tips for experiencing the ‘real’ Cuba?
1. Havana – Do the salsa dancing, smoke the cigars, drive the vintage cars but take time to walk the back streets and meet the real people of Cuba.
2. Trinidad (not the country!) – Great little place in central Cuba. A world heritage site. A real time warp. Away from the hustle and bustle of Havana. Go back further in time to see how real Cuban’s lived pre-revolution.
3. Last but not least. Ca$h – Don’t take cards because they don’t work. USA has an embargo against Cuba so no VISA or Mastercard. You need Euros and you must exchange to Cuban Convertible pesos at the airport. And don’t be like me and forget your European adapters. Not fun running out of camera battery 5 days into a 10-day trip in Cuba!
See more of Marcus’ stunning Cuban photos over on our Instagram.
So, who feels like jumping on a flight to Cuba now? Or if you’ve been here too, we’d love to hear your best Cuban travel tip?