Selfies with Strangers: Cuba (Part II of Series)

Recently I debuted a new blog series “Selfies with Strangers” featuring Morocco and, yes, myself. But wait, it’s not all about me. In fact, it’s not about me at all, it’s about travel and photography, and sharing the perfect tool for enriching your experience of travel, and for taking better pictures when you do.

The travel experience is about more than beautiful landscapes, iconic architecture, luxurious hotels, and good food. It’s about people – discovering the other humans who share our planet and observing their culture, customs, and way of life. My recent travels to Cuba provided the ideal circumstances and opportunity to learn more about the people, face to face.


How could I resist a selfie with with Cuba Bling Dude?

If I’ve taken a picture of someone, I share it with them. That’s easy for anyone to do, after the fact.

But try sharing the camera before taking the picture. It’s never any easier than with kids. Taking selfies with kids is especially rewarding, as they love to see themselves and often want to push the button.

Selfie with two boys before I photographed them

Two boys at Muraleando Projeto, Cuba

These demonstrate that having engaged and shared with the kids first made for a more relaxed and genuine photo when I shot them candidly. You can also see that the boys have a relationship with the photographer, and are comfortable just being themselves in front of the camera.

Although I am a photographer, I don’t hide behind my camera – too busy perfecting settings or looking through the viewfinder to take in the life happening around me. I know, shyness is a big barrier for many photographers. I understand. I used to be a “shy person”, and in some circumstances, like meeting Frans Lanting or Jan Morris, I still am. But when traveling, I find the experience more fun being engaging than being shy. Then the picture has a story, and tells a story, too.

Engaging with a local banana vendor in Remedios

The Banana Man first sees himself on the phone…

Now he’s ready to take the selfie!

Here are more examples of my “selfies with strangers” in Cuba. 

A proud moment with my Afro-Cuban Dance instructor in Trinidad

My “Uncle” Enrique who welcomes me as family every time I return to Cuba

Selfie with the man who rolled my first Cuban cigar at Finca Robaina

Clearly, I’m not shy when it comes to connecting with people of other cultures. But let’s get back to the kids, and you can see for yourself just how effortless it is to engage with others and take “selfies with strangers” for more story and depth to your photos.

Kids dressed as honeybees in Caibarien

Young dancers/performers in Santa Clara

Finally, I think this sums it up as well as anything – I didn’t realize I had the iphone set to video when I went to take a selfie with the kids….and look what happens!


This post is shared for #IGTravelThursday. Search the hashtag on instagram and also discover Instagram Travel-related blog features every week!

More on Cuba:

Cuba Cubed – instagrams of Cuba
Cuba From the Heart: Mourning and Music
Cuba Image gallery


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