William Ellis Gallery


Most of the photographs were taken on my first visit to Havana in December 2002. The reason for my visit was ostensibly to photograph at the jazz festival but it was actually an escape to a place that had been on my mind for as long as I could remember.

I arrived late at night on a flight from Paris, and at that time Havana really was a different world. You could buy live lobsters in the airport if you wished.

During the day, and some nights I wandered around the city with a pair of Leicas photographing the people and their city.

On the first day I took pictures in The Museum of the Revolution - the former Presidential Palace with its opulent interior designed by Tiffany Studios of New York.

It's a very interesting place. Wax figures of Che Guevara and fellow revolutionary Camilo Cienfuegos emerging from the jungle, the engine from the U2 spy plane shot down during the missile crisis. Beautiful wooden sculptures and exquisite chandeliers.

In the late afternoon of the same day I went to a small bar on a square were there were hundreds of people lining the streets along with limos, armoured cars - and lots of soldiers and assorted heavies eyeballing the crowd, I had stumbled upon Fidel Castro.

I decided not to approach El Comandante - no sense in getting shot on the first day. 

For reasons of personal safety, and I photographed him from the bar.

Unbelievably I actually have Fidel Castro's email address. 

He was cc'd in a round robin email sent to me and many others by a Cuban journalist with whom I had become friends after meeting him at the jazz festival.

This was the start of my international Odyssey.  

William Ellis

Airport Havana - 2002
Airport transfer - 2002
Arrival at Havana 2
Artist at home - 2002
At rest - Museum of the Revolution
At The Hotel Ingleterra - 2002
Ave de Los Presidentes
Baker on Obispo 2002
Barbers - 2002
Barmaid with Havana Club
Brother and sister - 2002
Camellos on Paseo de Marti - 2002
Camellos - Paseo de Marti
Children playing, their dog and father - 2002
Cigar maker - La Casa del Ron y del Tabaco Cubano
Cyclist - 2002
Doorway - 2002
Engine from downed U2 spy plane
Fidel Castro Havana 2002
Fidel Castro 2 Havana 2002
Friends on the Malecon - 2002
Friends - UNEAC - 2002
Grancar on Obispo
Havana streets
Havana 1 - 2002
Havana 2 - 2002
Havana 3 - 2002
Hotel La Florida - 12th December 2002
Hotel Nacional - no horns - 2002
Lads after school - 2002
Liborio Noval at home Havana - 2004
Men about to give chase
Mother and daughter - 2002
Museum of The Revolution - exterior 2002
Museum of The Revolution - interior 2002
Museum Revolution plane
On Paseo de Marti - 2002
On the corner - 2002
On the corner 2
Palms and diving tower - 2002
Rain storm near La Florida
RCA Building 2
RCA Victor Building - 2002
Roofs - 2002
Sculptures in The Museum of the Revolution
Shopping arcade
Soldiers with Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos wax models
Speeding car - 2002
Storm near La Floridita - 2002
Street barman - Malecon 2002
Street baseball - 2002
Street photographers camera, Capitol Building
Street scene with telephones
Taxi and Guardia De Escape Gas truck
The drum - 2002
The rower - 2002
Tourists on Obispo
Towards El Capitolio
Towards Leones Del Prado
Woman car and boutique - 2002
Woman in Packard on Paseo de Marti