Photographer Takes 24 Trips to Havana to Capture the ‘Soul of Cuba’


A photographer has undergone 24 trips to Cuba to capture the country’s “soul” in a series of wondrous pictures.

When Michael Chinnici was growing up in New York, living through events like the Cuban Missile Crisis, he always assumed that the communist country would be forever off-limits.

But as things changed and Cuba opened up, Chinnici traveled to the country extensively from 2013 onwards and developed a “love affair” with the republic.

“The Cuban people and their culture touched me in ways I never imagined possible. It’s a feeling that isn’t easy to put into words,” Chinnici says.

“I am moved by how easily Cubans welcome me into their world and allow me to photograph their lives. How uninhibited they are about sharing their pleasures and their sadness, their dreams, and their reality. I love how they always smile at me.”





Chinnici’s magical photos really do capture the vibrancy of a country that, in many ways, is catching up with the modern world. From breathtaking sunsets over Havana’s Malecon to tough living conditions, there is little doubt the country is a photographer’s playground.

“Cubans view their lives as ‘the glass is half full,’ yet, they could easily view it as ‘the glass is half empty,'” he says.

“They’ve taught me never to take for granted the freedom and privileges I wake up to every day.”






What Camera Gear does he use to Capture Cuba?

Chinnici uses Fujifilm X Series cameras. “Lugging my Nikon F4s and D810 on my travels was no longer working for me,” explains Chinnici.

“I love how the entire system was developed from the ground up around a new Fuji sensor, which was created to simulate the color spectrum we were used to as film photographers.”

Chinnici likes to fly beneath the radar while documenting Cuba. “The less conspicuous I am as a documentary photographer or photojournalist, the better,” he adds.




repairs shop

Photos Printed Using a Unique Technique

Chinnici’s photos have been published in a book called Vanishing Cuba and the publisher used a proprietary 7-color Spectra System to provide extra vibrancy to the images.

“The book’s black and white images are printed using a two-black and one-grey TriTone System, delivering superior black and white images with breathtaking results,” he says.

“Ultra-fine, dot-less, stochastic printing rounds out this magnificent work of art. Printing in 10 colors is a rarity among photography coffee table books.”

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Vanishing Cuba can be purchased from Red Octopus Publishing. The project’s Instagram can be viewed here.

More of Chinnici’s work can be seen on his website, Instagram, and Facebook.

Image credits: All photos by Micael Chinnici.