“Quba”: Cuba with the Leica Q by Louis Foubare
I realize the country of Cuba is spelled with a C instead of a Q, but after spending a week in Cuba utilizing only the Leica Q, my image results amazed me due to its lightning fast AF and no noticeable EVF lag so the word “Quba” was coined. This small platform camera fit perfectly into my street shooting needs, not to mention my hand. For me the Q is the perfect street camera.
Interacting with the Cuban people is a joy as they are curious about foreigners. The most obvious giveaway you are a tourist is that you are walking with a camera in your hand. Most Cubans do not know what a Leica is, but they see plenty of DSLRs. What impressed me while shooting a group of young runners at the Cuban Marathon Warm Up Day was when one young runner pointed to my camera and said that it took photos so fast he was surprised at its speed and had never seen a camera shoot images that fast. It was set to Continuous with Medium Speed, but his comment just reinforced how pleased I was with my Q.
I took my digital M-P and a few M lenses along, but they ended up being left behind as I walked the streets with only the Q in hand. It is a small and discreet full frame 24MP camera that can be used in unconventional ways. For example, if you own an iPhone and download the free Q App into it, then you can use your iPhone for capturing images with little or no intrusion into the daily life of your subjects. For these occasions, the camera was hung high up around my neck hanging down just 20cm. While looking at what the camera was seeing on my iPhone, I could slightly move my body to adjust the camera and thus frame the scene as wanted through body movements while the camera was aimed at my subjects. I never dreamed this could work so well.
Many Cubans watch you walk their block from far away since they often sit or stand in their doorway while you approach. In many instances just bringing the camera near your eye can elicit a “don’t take my photo” comment. However, using the Q in the way described above might help one capture a moment in time that could not be replicated with any other camera, even a Leica M.
No trip to Cuba is complete without visiting a Cuban Boxing Training Camp. As many might recall Leica AG themselves focused on boxing in promotional brochures for the S and M-240 cameras so I thought it also appropriate to take the Q to a boxing facility. After explaining to the Senior Trainers at the Rafael Trejo Boxing Venue that a long time Cuban born friend of mine used to train boxers in New Jersey and I wanted to take some images back for him to see, they pulled out all the stops for me to shoot their training sessions up close. The 28mm lens and AF performed admirably.
The last night in Habana a friend and personal educator of mine, Peter Turnley, was very fortunate to open his exhibition, “Momentos de la Condición Humana” at the most respected museum in all of Cuba, The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Peter considers this exhibition as one of his life’s most important honors since it spans his entire photographic endeavors with 130 photographs from McClellan Street up to and including his recent Cuban images spanning 40 years of his worldwide images. His invitation to this event was one of the highlights of my trip considering that Peter is the first North American photographer to hold a major exhibit at Cuba’s most important museum since the Revolution.
All in all visiting Cuba helped me reinforce in my mind how important people to people contacts can be and street shooting offers those opportunities. I realize there are so many places in the world to visit, but if we can make just one friend during each visit we can help shrink our differences little by little around the world and enrich the world with images that focus on people in their daily pursuits.
Louis Foubare has been featured in two Leica Blog interviews in September 2014 and April 2015:
- Louis Foubare: Fluidity and Unpredictability in Street Photography
- Louis Foubare: Making Every Minute Count
- Website by Louis Foubare