Havana By My Eye



I spied with my curious eye a micro paragraph in a Havana/Cuba travel book mentioning Cellejón de Hammel, an alleyway of Afro-Cuban art. As I was going to Havana, I thought I’d satisfy my curious eye with a visit.

It was a short hop from Old Havana, but well worth the small effort. As I entered Cellejón de Hammel I was instantly bombarded by murals of Afro-Cuban art, a mask made from a shovel hanging from a gate, a cash register on a pipe, the funkiest sculptures I ever did see, colours that screamed at me, plus a myriad of characters, musicians and artists; a repertoire of faces I needed to photograph. I stumbled into a creative groove and rejoiced.

Callejón de Hammel was a feast for photographers. It recharged my creative batteries.





But, do you have to travel to Cuba to recharge your creativity? Not if you have a curious eye and are willing to patiently seek your creative groove. I’ve found many a creative groove within a 10 km range of my home!  

Hey, I can’t always hop on a plane to exotic lands. Most of my travel modes include my car, bicycle or feet. I always remember a song lyric I once heard: “I don’t care where I ride, I’ll let my feet decide.”

I continuously find my creative groove in my back yard, public parks, craft markets, the zoo, on the street…on sunny, overcast or rainy days (secret: the light is always right). I believe one’s creative groove is wherever they are. It’s a matter of tuning in.

Wherever I travel, I make sure I leave the notion of “tunnel vision” or great expectations out of my mind. Shakespeare once said,  “anticipation is greater than realization.” Think about what he said; if you expect great photo-ops presented to you upon demand, it’ll never happen…you’ll always be disappointed and soon give up on your photography.

Practice “looking.” The more you look (without tunnel vision or even camera), the more creative grooves you’ll discover. 

But… if you do happen to travel to Havana, navigate your curious eye to Cellejón de Hammel. I’m sure you’ll find your groove there.


For fifty more images of the art and people of Callejón de Hamel, click here.


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