Cuban Street Photographer

Before leaving for on my most recent workshop to Cuba a member of the Darkroom Cookbook Forum wrote to ask me if I knew what kind of film and paper South American street photographers used to expose and process in bright sunlight. I didn't at the time but I promised to find out.

I met this photographer in the Parque Centro on the border of Habana Vieja and Habana Centro. He explained that he used resin-coated paper imported from a store in Germany, probably Fotoimpex in Berlin.

What he does is create a paper negative inside the camera and develops it in the tray he's pouring developer into in the second photo. He is not able to view the development process so he times it instead. He then moves the fully developed paper to the white plastic bucket of fixer hanging below his camera (fourth image). When it's fully fixed, or at least to his standards, he flips the board hanging down below his lens (you can see it in the first image), into an upright position, adheres the wet paper negative to it, and rephotographs the negative (fourth image). He develops and fixes the second piece of paper in the same way, allows it to hang beneath the camera for a few minutes (fifth image), and hands his client a semi-dry print. Piece of cake.

The weak link in the chain is that he doesn't focus the camera. He has the client stand at an approximate distance from the lens. Because the lens he uses is not optimized for close-up photography the finished image is doubly out-of-focus.

You can tell which is the finished print because the shadows are black (last image), and it has a professional border made with scissors. I'm not certain but I think the thumb print in the lower right might be his signature.

 

Cuban Street Photographer - Havana Street Photography Workshop - Steve Anchell

Cuban Street Photographer - Havana Street Photography Workshop - Steve Anchell

Cuban Street Photographer - Havana Street Photography Workshop - Steve Anchell

Cuban Street Photographer - Havana Street Photography Workshop - Steve Anchell

Cuban Street Photographer - Havana Street Photography Workshop - Steve Anchell

Cuban Street Photographer - Havana Street Photography Workshop - Steve Anchell

Cuban Street Photographer - Havana Street Photography Workshop - Steve Anchell

 
UA-61400905-1