Cuba, My Beating Heart

I’ve been thinking, even obsessing, a lot lately, especially having just come from Cuba and photographed some absolutely beautiful street faces, about what exactly is it, about Portrait photography and the portrait process, that draws me in, like a magical and irresistible concoction?

What enchants and transfixes me to making surface, temporal and fleeting connections with perfect strangers?

The truth of the matter is, socially speaking, and probably a bit surprising to many here, I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert.

In other words, I tend to get energized and emboldened, in my aloneness rather than my togetherness.

Alone but not lonely.

And so it goes.

By design and with great intention and discrimination, I tend to have a small band of close companions, colleagues, and confidantes.

So too, in love and romance, I am, unashamedly, a serial and loyal monogamist- one woman at a time.

So why, given my organic and natural propensity, by nature, for introversion, am I so hopelessly attracted to photographing people on the street, many of which I will never see again and, to photograph well, takes a herculean amount of extroversion and confidence?

I don’t honestly know. It’s a mystery?

And so it goes

Part of this enigma might be my own insecurity and need to connect with others to self-validate my own, unique life experience. Click.

Or maybe, I’m just a gadhhh damn poet, who wears his emotions on his sleeve, and is animated and vitalized by this type of ephemeral connectivity?

I’m still, after all these years, trying to understand the psychological process I go through, behind the lens.
Sometimes it is crystal clear. Other times, it’s a big black hole.

I am photographically intimate, with another, in fractions of a second, and through this short-lived connection, I enjoy the rush, blush, gush, and hush of photographic capture.

Even if the change is tiny and insignificant, I am changed. My sitter is changed. We are changed, together and forever.

And so it goes.

I exchange this scared, vulnerable, often awkward space, so often, with so many people, it never tires or wears out.

I am human, faults and all, because I share this space, with those, just like me, who is a beautiful mess.

Maybe, in a way, I understand these snapshots of humanity and humility, as they understand me.

The beating heart is cavernous and voluminous.

With every beat comes a click.

Oh Cuba, my Cuba, you are gorgeous. I love you.



Jack Hollingsworth