In celebration of the ongoing LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2016, we will be publishing a series of inspiring features on great contemporary street photography. Enjoy!

My inspiration and vision behind the “Cuban Coincidence” collection was singular: showcase this wonderful culture while inviting the viewer to look deeper into the frame, to discover hidden relationships, engage the mind and feel the pulse of Cuba.

Cuba is changing. Earlier this year, 2016, President Obama visited, a landmark event in the history of Cuban and U.S. relations. I wanted to visit Cuba—to walk its streets and feel its heartbeat—before any more radical changes came into effect.

This collection was taken just a week before Obama visited the country. While only a handful of days were spent shooting, miles were walked and a vast variety of people were met.

Everyone I encountered was friendly, open and engaging. Even with a language barrier, much was shared through the simple combination of a smile and deep eye contact; a universal language in itself that transcends race, gender and creed.

—Ross Harvey