Minimalist Cuba

“I have my own definition of minimalism, which is that which is created with a minimum of means”. – La Monte Young

By far the most beautiful thing about Cuba is her people. Despite their hardships, they have persevered and show hope. They may not have a lot of material goods let alone food to put on the table yet their spirits remain fierce and strong.

Here are a few of my favorite shots that represent resilience, pain, hope and minimalism.

Cuban man in Trinidad Cuban man in Havana Cuban woman in Plaza des Armas Havana Cuban man in Havana P1030074-1_Snapseed Cuban woman in Havana Cuban girl and woman in HavanaThis post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist. To see more entries, click here


  1. You do a wonderful job with people. I really need to start taking photos of people, but it always feels so invasive. Did you ask these people if you could take their photos? From as close as you are, I would think they’d have to know you were there.


    • Thanks Janet! It all depends. Most of the time I ask as I’m working with the people in some capacity either volunteering or like in Ethiopia reporting on newborn and maternal health.In Cuba, for most of these I did ask however I really also love random street photography. Perhaps it is an invasion of privacy but I love to capture people in their everyday experiences. I usually am far away and zoom in or else I can take it from quite a distance and crop it in lightroom. I’ve never had anyone get angry with me except in Ethiopia when I was taking photos from a car. I realized that it is important to ask if you are taking a shot directly of one person without getting anything else in the shot. When I was in China, I had a funny experience as I had Chinese people taking photos of me! I was the different one with the blond hair and blue eyes. I thought it was great! But you do have to be careful as not everyone likes their photos taken so it is best to ask if you are only taking a direct shot of them. The first shot in my series of the man with the cigar, I had his permission and I believe for most the rest I did ask except the woman next to the wall which I took very far away and cropped.

  2. This is a wonderful collection of very moving monochromatic portraits Nicole. Black and white is so much more powerful in this setting. Lovely 🙂

    • Thanks so much Debbie! You will love Cuba! I loved it so much! Next time I want to take two weeks. So much to see and you can do home stays too where you stay the night or two with families and have home cooking! It is the way to go!

    • Thanks! For most of these photos I did ask however one was taken from afar and I cropped it. The one of the woman sitting next to the door. I was all the way across the street. Sometimes I feel like it ruins the spontaneity of the shot if you ask but it is a fine line because you don’t want to offend anyone either.

      • I once took a shot too far from a couple on a fountain. I did not want to ruin the scene but i stayed away too far. The teaching photographer said: if you make contact and tell what you want you either get a better picture or no picture. Now you have not the best picture either.

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  4. These photos simply amaze me! Stunning, Nicole! These images are even minimal in the absence of color. The man in the wheel chair is especially powerful.

    I’m trying to get my butt back in the saddle. I did manage to post something a month ago, but have been busy teaching workshops, looking at self-hosting my blog and writing my memoir (yes, I’ve been doing that), but I will make an effort to get something new out this week, including photos of our new home. Sorry to have been absent of late.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • Thanks Kathy! Good to hear from you! Yes we are missing your blog but know how life can get busy especially with all the other things you are working on! Stay in touch! 🙂 hugs from MN!

  5. Great shots! They really are. And great post, speaking with my Cuban friend it really did hit home at how much of a shame it is that many of my untraveled friends have been to resorts there yet have no idea what happens behind the scenes, such a shame!

    • Thanks. Yes, it is best to get out of the resorts and walk around town on your own. Talk to people and explore. Cuba is a beautiful culture despite its difficulties and hardship.

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