There are times when you make photographs they don’t turn out like you had visualized, this can be for a number of reasons including diminishing light or in the case of a portrait the subject moved at that vital time. On the other hand a photograph that you did’t expect can work out to be better than you thought. Orlando Lazaro has been my assistant in Cuba since 2011 and we have a very good working relationship. We both understand each other’s needs and wants and this has cemented our working partnership into a bond of friendship. I depend on his advice to keep us out of trouble while he began to understand that I am not a click, click, click photographer but one who takes time over each composition and he knows if I make one photograph a day I will be happy. Every evening when we’d finish work Orlando would scout locations for the next day’s shoot.
During my time in Cuba I was principally photographing portraits in my subject’s home developing a story on its people against a background of the countries history since 1897. Orlando understood I wasn’t looking for the clichéd images of automobiles or women in national costume smoking big cigars, but we were trying to do something different. Orlando had found this staircase in the lobby of an apartment building and thought it might make an interesting backdrop for a portrait. I agreed with him and we proceed to first set up the equipment for a portrait and then wait for someone interesting to come along to photograph. As we were setting up this mad dog came along and started barking at us and we felt a bit threatened by his behavior. The dog then ran up the staircase before his attention was caught by a cat that passed on the roadway outside. Startled by the sight of the cat the dog froze as if caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. Orlando urged me to take the shot and I managed to take two frames before the dog raced down the stairs again and out the door to give chase to the unsuspecting cat.
We made our portrait later on and when I was viewing them both together in post production I preferred the one with the dog.