Saved by the bell in Havana

The boxer

I love black & white photography. Not just the shooting but the whole processing - the challenge of turning your monochrome vision into a finished image you are happy with. I still remember the first moment I processed black & white film and then developed a print from it. It wasn't very good but that didn't matter. I watched the image miraculously appearing on the paper as it soaked in the chemicals. These days there are no chemicals involved - it's a digital process from start to finish but I still enjoy the anticipation of trying to squeeze all the mood out of my shot. I like my mono shots full of contrast and drama. Deep blacks and clean whites, and a few shades of grey in-between! There's no doubt that shooting in black & white makes you look at the world differently as you have to learn to see in shape, pattern and shade.

Cuba is so full of colour it's not really the obvious place to think in black & white but in this case I decided 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. 

There are many things that Cubans love. Mojitos, salsa, baseball and boxing are among the most popular so it was with some excitement I 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, 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!


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