The Top Hat in Havana

Top Hat - Havana - 2013

One of the most enjoyable things about street photography is discovering a venue – we think of it as a “stage” – which looks interesting. As the photographer, you position yourself across from the stage – and just wait for the world to show up on your stage.

This image is one example from my recent visit to Havana, Cuba. We had finished walking through an open market and noticed some interesting things going on outside, just across the street. I was tired and wanted to sit down – and found a spot that let me just look across the street at this “stage”. There were lots of cars and motorcycles going by in the street – so the venue was a bit challenging in terms of squeezing off shots in between the cars getting in the way.

As I was watching the world showing up on the stage – this guy with the straw hats appears – and starts sort of sorting them. Perhaps inspecting them is the right idea. As he was doing so, I captured this particular image – with him holding the top hat uppermost and really giving it the scrutiny.

Coincidentally, standing on the sidewalk behind him is Raúl Cañibano, one of the Cuban photographers who walked and worked with us every day we were in Cuba. His pensive look reminds me of his look much of the time we were together. He’s got his Nikon D40 in hand, is paying close attention to what’s happening around him – and ready to capture an image at the drop of a hat!

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