Luis Alarcón – Cuba
I taught a workshop in Cuba with Luis Alarcon and I think he is a fantastic photographer, a great teacher, a fun person to travel with… Taking his workshop will make you a better photographer and also give you an intimate and unique access to Cuba.
— Magdalena Solé, Oscar-winning photographer, Man on Wire
Luis Alarcón is a Spanish born documentary photographer and instructor who’s based in Havana for over twenty years. He’s married to a lovely lady whom he describes affectionately as “extremely Cuban.” What that means precisely is impossible to say, as Cuban nature is enigmatic, as anyone who has spent time here will confirm! Suffice to say that the people here are overwhelmingly kind and welcoming, while the many quirks of life on the island are best left to personal experience.
It’s safe to say that Luis has a more intimate knowledge of Cuba than any other photographer on the planet, and in fact, documenting what he calls ‘Planet Cuba’ s his life’s work. (That’s quite telling from a man who started serious photography at age 10!). Luis endeavors to tell not only the ever changing story of modern Cuba as it evolves, but also delves back into the island’s mysterious indigenous history.
“My main goal is to create a photographic memoir of a passionate country that will never be the same.” –Luis Alarcón
Luis Alarcón doing his thing in Havana
To take on this grand project fully, Luis left his work as an engineer and engineering professor in order to dedicate himself to the Cuban story. He is an expert in Cuban history, specializing in anthropology, genetics, migrations and miscegenation among the different ethnic groups that populate and have populated the island in the past. His photographic approach is a blend of straight documentary, stylish documentary (in the vein of the Magnum shooters of today), and when he’s in the mood, painterly images showing the aesthetic beauty of the island.
“Travelers come to my Cuban photo workshops hoping to take beautiful travel photographs. I don´t only help them get astonishing shots, but I also show them the professional way of telling photo stories, and to reach beyond travel photography. I facilitate access to Cuban culture, and immerse the photographer in the extreme kindness and embrace of the Cuban people.” –Luis Alarcón
It’s perfectly natural to arrive in Cuba for the first time with misconceptions. By experiencing the country with Luis, those misperceptions will naturally fall away and be replaced by a more accurate and meaningful understanding. This happens along the way as part of the overall photographic journey – from glossy travel style to stylish street & documentary to environmental portraiture inside Cuban homes, and much more.
Luis is a member of FIAP, Federation Internationale de l´art Photographique; TIFF, Trinidad International Foundation of Photography; and is the founding director of Photographing Cuba. His first published book on Cuba is to be out in late 2020, along with a series of exhibitions around the country.
As a photo tour leader, Luis has hosted several hundred visiting photographers from all over the world with great success. His friendly good nature, deep knowledge of Cuba, inspirational photographic approach, and devotion to his participants and their image making, have all been cited as the main reasons for this success.
‘Planet Cuba’ with Luis Alarcón runs March 20 – 29, 2020, during once of the best times of the year for photography. We’ll see you here!