Earlier this year, I traveled to Cuba to create a travel guide for the Spring Issue of Resource Magazine. Of course, I had fantasized about the thrill of riding in old cars, walking the color-filled streets, and tasting the flavorful rum and cigar combinations. But after spending 31 days traversing across the country in a 1995 Volkswagon Jetta, what I left cherishing the most was the people I met and the experiences that you don’t see on magazine covers or news websites.
Once you get out of the tourist triangle (Havana, Trinidad, Vinales Valley), you will discover an entirely different version of the country; one without tourist shops, currency exchanges, and locals who speak English. This was the Cuba I fell for.
I traveled to the island nation with a ton of photography gear, but throughout the trip, I found myself constantly reaching for my Apple iPhone 6s Plus. Often it was just quicker and easier to access than digging into my bag for my camera. Sometimes, I would take the scene in front of me with both my iPhone and Sony camera, using the iPhone versions to post to my Instagram. They always just came out clean, and didn’t require me to take time to edit RAW files on my laptop. And really, finding free time in Cuba was hard—we were constantly ending up in someone’s home, exploring the endless streets and alleyways, or diving into a local bar for a humidity-busting cocktail.
To be honest, it really had been years since I relied so heavily on my iPhone for photographs. With the advent of built in WiFi in cameras, I would typically transfer photos from the camera to my iPhone, rather than taking the photos on the iPhone itself. But in Cuba, once I started shooting with the iPhone, I couldn’t stop. It was FUN. Simple fun. I didn’t have to think about settings or exposure levels. I could just document my experiences cleanly and beautifully with no worries.
Photographing Cuba with an iPhone helped re-energize my love for the basics of photography. It helped me remember a time when life was more simple and much easier; when I could just take great photos quickly and easily without having to stress about deadlines and commitments.
iPhoneography made photography fun again.