I spent 10 days travelling around Cuba in November 2014. For me, the most interesting thing about the country, by a long distance, was its people. I would wander around towns like Havana and Trinidad, approaching people that caught my eye and establishing some sort of connection through very broken Spanish. Everyone I spoke to, without exception, was friendly, curious and chatty.
It occurred to me that these interactions were being made possible by the fact that Cubans spend a lot of time outside their houses and places of business, on the street, watching the world go by. This slower pace of life encourages eye contact, a smile and a story exchanged in a remarkably easy manner. For me, this is the essence of Cuba and I wanted to capture it through my portraits before improving relations with the USA foster a more cynical, hard nosed attitude, as is evident in so many other tourist destinations.
Using the first four images in this series, I won the National Geographic Traveller 2016 photography competition (Portfolio category).