Cuba Behind a 55mm Lens by Jazelle Prado

By Jazelle Prado 
This is a guest blog post from our friend Jazelle Prado describing her experience capturing Cuba through her Cameras.
I was your standard post-grad art student who needed something; from life, from photography, from color, from people - from anything. I had been wanting to visit Cuba ever since reading A Moveable Feast and One Hundred Years of Solitude..  I’d fantasize about the pictures I would take and which cameras I would bring that would tell my story best. One disposable Kodak, one Canon with a 55-millimeter lens and a Fujifilm Polaroid camera (oh, and an iPhone) were my prize possessions going to Cuba. Needless to say, I was on a mission.
I am no professional by any means, but I love mystery and romance - and that was what Cuba gave me through this lens. I didn’t want to be one of those tourists who takes pictures of every breathing moment in a different country- especially one like Cuba, but I had no idea these images would come out the way they personified in real life.
The disposable waterproof camera was a gem in the sea- I took it with us to Varadero. The Fujifilm was my little pocket of romance in Havana. Using my phone was too easy and harmless. But the 55-millimeter moments came out like gold and very true to Cuba.
The limitations and simplicity you have with a film camera are so beautiful. It’s not complicated at all: you aim, shoot in well-lit places, and make a wish. You get one chance to make that moment memorable.
For every hundred photos you’ve taken with your digital device, I bet you can’t remember half of what you actually did with great detail.I’ve learned a great deal traveling with photography, and that’s one mistake you can’t take back.
There is so much history leading up to present-day Cuba. It is really up to you to find what experience you want.
There were a lot of great moments captured in Cuba for me and I owe it to my 55-millimeter lens and wishes. I am so thankful to have experienced this country and its people.