The magazine of the photo-essay
Feb 2017 back issue
Trouble in Paradise
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
by Marylise Vigneau
In Havana time is an unavoidable character . Destructive or facetious, sardonic or nostalgic, political or imaginary, irreverent in any case, time sprawls its texture and shadow all over the city. Half a century of defiant isolation, embargo and excruciating austerity has done its work. In the vale of years, the revolution seems to have been confiscated, the superb and sensuous fabric of the city has crumbled beyond repair, people have gone into exile building a very vivid absence, heroes have aged, swimming-pools have been left empty and disbelief and reluctance towards propaganda is everywhere. Time has collapsed here but time is on the verge of unwrapping. On Havana’s streets, there is a charge of anticipation, and one senses a people yearning to escape this fallen paradise and to embrace the world. These pictures of a bankrupt utopia were taken between June 2014 and June 2016.
Desperately seeking water in Havana. On the rooftop of former Hotel Astor, a man is checking the drains while on another floor another man is listening to the pipes. This photograph is silent but on the right a woman is screaming out of desperation. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
A lady and her crocodile. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
A children’s park on the Malecón. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
A young cook killing time playing with pigeons in Havana Centro. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
At the dilapidated Jose Marti stadium. The swimming pools have been empty for more than a decade but the youth still come here to train. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
A shooting stand in old Havana. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
A stairwell in a dilapidated Art Deco building in central Havana. Juana, whose parents came from Haiti, has lived here since her childhood. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
Sublime. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
In the oldest district of Havana, Enricua Milagro is suffering from cancer. She spends her days on this bed while her niece comes once a day to help her. Enricua was gracious and mischievous despite her pain and isolation.
Rainier holding a portrait of his late wife at 17. He is turning 90 next month but still has to work as a barber in order to survive. The only thing that has changed for him since the economical reforms of 2010 is that he is now a "private" barber. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
Red. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
A woman passes in front of a mural painted by a young man in Havana. It depicts the usual heroes, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
Oslal, 59 years old, is a widower and lives with his mother in central Havana. Every night he takes a one and half hour journey to go to work on a farm outside the city where he watches over animals. He was sent to war in Angola in ‘78 where he was injured and later worked "like an horse" near Santiago di Cuba. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
On the Malecon this ice-rink was built by New York-based artist Duke Riley to symbolize the thawing of tensions between the US and Cuba. Riley also brought with him some 200 pairs of ice skates for young and old to take a spin on the synthetic ice under the blazing Caribbean sun. It was part of the twelfth biennial event entitled “Behind the Wall.” The event featured art exhibitions and performances from artists from all over the world.
Rosa came from the "Oriente" as Cubans refer to the eastern part of the island. She misses the hard but peaceful life of the countryside and lives with her cockrel on a rooftop in central Havana. In the background the Capitolio can be seen. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
Felicita, 87 years old, lives alone with stray dogs. Cuba is a developing country with a first world problem: an ageing population. Monthly pension money is as low as 13 dollars. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
In Cuba when a girl reaches her 15th birthday, she goes to a photo studio and has glamorous portraits made.  Those portraits often hang in the middle of the living room. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
At a local bar. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
The staircase of a famous house in central Havana where some of the scenes of the 1993 movie  "Strawberry and Chocolate " were shot. © Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger
Back to menu Back to current issue