Photographer Stijn Hoekstra—who we recently interviewed—is fresh off a three-week trip to Cuba and has generously sent us some of the cinematic photos he captured along the way. Applying his signature style, born from his work in cinematography, he succeeds in showing a different side to this culturally rich country.
Like many photographers, Hoekstra had long been fascinated with Cuba and relished the idea of capturing the country through his camera. The Dutch photographer spent one week soaking in Havana, before moving on to Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, and Vinales in order to get a full picture of urban and rural life. “I only planned a few interesting places that I really wanted to visit but most of the time I just wandered around not knowing what to expect around the corner,” he writes us via email.
Hoekstra’s images have a timeless feel, bathed in the warm light of the Cuban sun or bursting with the vibrant color of painted houses. “For this trip I took my Sony A7rII, but I wanted to give to photos a special touch, therefore, I brought my old M42 lenses from the 70’s,” he shares. “The flare and bokeh is gorgeous and really fits perfect with the old Cuba.”
Separating his photographs into two separate series—street photography and portraits—it’s impossible not to be drawn to Hoekstra’s ability to capture the soul of his subjects. In fact, he hadn’t planned on taking many portraits, but his time in contact with locals changed his mind. “The other thing I really forced myself into was taking portraits, on previous projects it was all about the streets but the Cuban people are so kind and photogenic that it’s hard not to take their portrait. I always first ask if I can take someone’s picture, and no one really rejected me, they were all very pleased.”