Andrew James is a freelance journalist and photographer. He writes regularly for market-leading photo magazines and is a partner in FotoBuzz - an exciting online community for photographers. He also leads and assists in photography workshops and holidays in the UK and abroad.
IF YOU'VE never been to Cuba then put it on your list of must-visit places. But go soon. With American-Cuban relations on the up, the place is on the brink of change and it would be a shame if you don't see it now before its unique flavours get diluted. There are many things that Cubans love. Mojitos, salsa, baseball and boxing are among the most popular so it was some excitement we turned up at a community boxing gym on the outskirts of Havana hoping to see some action. But the place was empty. No grunting athletes knocking the hell out of defenceless punchbags! Even deserted the gym had a photogenic quality to it. The faded reds and blues looked great in the mid-morning sun. Luckily for us, as the morning wore on, two boxers turned up - one visiting German and one young Cuban - and they proceeded to put on a sweaty display of just how tough you have to be in the boxing game!
Although the colours of Cuba are endlessly fascinating, I decided in this case the gritty backdrops and character studies worked best in black & white. So all the images you will see in this blog have been created by processing them through Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro.