William Ellis Gallery

Havana

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
     
Tourists on Obispo
     
Towards El Capitolio
     
Towards Leones Del Prado
     
Woman car and boutique - 2002
     
Woman in Packard on Paseo de Marti