Cuba Workshop Tag

Welcome to Cuba! From the beat of Afro-Cuban drums… to the sounds of jazz trumpets….to the dancers, with their fast-moving feet and swiveling hips, swaying under the tropical evening sky…to the aroma of Cuban cooking and strong coffee … Cuba will, like few other places, awaken your senses, revive your creativity, and grab onto your soul. In Havana, where the Workshop is centered, waves crash onto the protecting walls of the Malecon, playfully splashing those who stroll the ocean-side walkway. On the wide boulevards, without hurry, cars from the ‘40s and ‘50s chug along, carrying families…or, with increasing frequency, wide-eyed tourists. Throughout Havana, pastel-colored Spanish-colonial buildings (albeit fading and often in need of repair) hug the streets, adding pops of color and historic elegance to this stuck-in-a-time-warp treasure of a country.

Come photograph Cuba with Cuban-Italian photographer Manuello Paganelli, who began photographing Cuba’s vibrant people and historical culture in 1989, when he was one of the few foreigner walking in Havana. Captivated by Cuba’s soulful way of life and colorful people, Paganelli has visited the island over 50 times.

Paganelli has contributed for magazines such as: Time, Life, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, Forbes, GQ, Men’s Journal, Spiegel, Stern to name a few. He has led photography workshops throughout the world and has exhibited at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, the Manege Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia and art galleries across the USA.

Over the past years, Manuello has led small groups across Cuba, showing an insider’s perspective and now photographers from all levels of expertise will have the opportunity to have a one-of-a-kind experience interacting and meeting real Cuban folks, listening to live Cuban music, watching a Santeria ceremony with drums and dancers, learning about the history of the island and its politics of Cuba with a journalis and a top Cuban official.*

*This is contingent to the availability of the top government official during our time there.

Students will discover the richness of the country and will gain the confidence necessary to engage with the locals and capture powerful images of the setting and the moment. This Workshop will educate students on street photography in a foreign setting, using Cuba – the jewel of the Caribbean – as its lab.

During the Workshop the participants will have the privilege of having a professional Cuban born photographer instructor along side Paganelli, allowing students to see the island through a Cuban artist’s eyes. Every student will have an opportunity to spend individualized time with each instructor.

Each day we will meet at a designated time & place in the hotel/home and from there we will go out for several hours photographing on the streets or at a chosen location in Havana, which may include visits to/with: schools, artists’ studios, musicians, ballet figures and dance schools, athletes, artisans, a cigar plantation, rum factory… and much more. In the evenings, in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere, we all will meet to go over the day’s photo work. We will provide feedback, and offer tips for you to try out the next day.

Class Details

Workshop is limited to 8-10 students.

Due to the small size of the Workshop I encourage you to register as early as possible since the classes will fill up quickly. All fees MUST be paid in full 60 days in advance of departure. Payments of USA $5,000.00  can be made by PayPal or by wiring the workshop fee directly to the bank account.

For photography workshop participation:

You can also bring a companion who will not be joining all the activities of the workshop or any photo reviews. The cost of the companion will be $4,000.

Any students arriving from Europe or Asia should arrive to Cuba a couple days before to minimize the effects of the jetlag.


A deposit of $1,000.00 per participant must be paid to guarantee your reservation, which will be used towards the cost of the workshop.

Fees Included:

  • Workshop fees
  • Flights from Miami-Havana-Miami: Be aware that to travel to Cuba your passport must be valid up to at least 6 months after the day of travel.
  • All paper work compliance with US Treasury Dept policies
  • Cuba Entry Visa and any airport taxes due
  • Lodging is included. For an original and substantial interactions between photo workshop participants and Cubans we will be staying at private homes in either double shared rooms or private rooms. Home accommodations will be secure and with AC and private bath. A single room is subject to availability for an additional supplement fee. On occasion hotels rooms will be available for the group. * Transportation in Cuba only related to workshops or from and to airport. All breakfast and three group dinner.
  • Local guide/translator, local Cuban assistant photographer.
  • Casa de Trova or Casa de la Musica en Trinidad, El Palacio de la Revolucion and many other historical places. * Due to the large influx of tourism and the lack of infrastructure in the hospitality industry, hotel rooms are currently very difficult to secure.

Fees Not Included:

  • The Miami hotel room.
  • Extra luggage weight above 44 lbs.
  • Meals outside of breakfast or the three group meals.
  • Any travel and medical care insurance.
  • Any tips for guide, Cuban photographer, drivers, bellboy, mini bar or any food items or drinks consumed from your hotel/house room.
  • Medical care insurance.
  • Any optional event that requires an entry fees such as: night club, musical event, sports venue, night clubs or any additional cost not included in the itinerary.
  • Travel/cancellation insurance.

What to bring

At least two sets of DSLR camera bodies with five or more memory cards of 2GB-4GB or larger. Also one wide-angle lenses, a 50mm or 85mm lens, a telephoto, a light tripod to shoot during low lights or at night time and any other photographic tools that you may need during the workshop. Also bring extra batteries, a charger and your laptop to download your images for review & positive criticism. All participants must be able to download and backup you work since each day will be very intense and the instructors won’t have the time for that. I also encourage you to bring a back up system to safe your day’s work or in the event that your memory cards fills up. It could be done in your laptop, DVD, a small external HD or flash drives. I can give you tips as to the best external HD to get.

There won’t be any spare computers to be used, so please bring your laptops with you and PLEASE be very familiar with all your personal equipment

Havana, San Lazaro & Trinidad Photo Workshop Dec 11th – 20th

Each year, on December 17th, thousands of believers from all corners of Cuba arrive in the small town of
El Rincón, 25 kilometers south of the capitol, to visit the Sanctuary of San Lázaro and to bring offerings
to this Saint of the Sick.

Once the followers reach the town of Santiago de las Vegas, many start the
pilgrimage to El Rincon as a personal form of punishment, in hopes it will bring a miracle or a cure to a family member. Many walk barefoot the few kilometers to El Rincón. Others crawl on their knees or drag their bodies across the hard pavement.

Some wear clothes made of jute sack and pull large heavy rocks or a cement block chained to their legs. Some even carry a small child on their shoulders. After days of suffering, they fulfill their promises at the shrine by lighting candles to the deity.

When Pope John Paul II made his historical trip to Cuba in 1998 he expressed his desired to have “an
encounter with pain” he chose Rincon. There His Holiness celebrated mass and blessed the sick and the
suffering. Paganelli was the only foreign photographer that was permitted inside the small church by
the Cuban government.

Dec 12

  • Arrive at Havana Jose Marti Airport then head for hotel or houses
  • Late afternoon photography around el Malecon.
  • Welcome dinner at a chosen restaurant in Havana Vieja.

Dec 13

  • Early outing to old Havana to capture the morning light and the vibrancy of the waking city and
    its people.
  • A visit to La Fototeca, Havana Museum of Photograph in old Havana to learn about the history
    of photography in Cuba.
  • Aftternoon trip to Cojimar where Hemingway used to have his boat the Pilar and to meet and
    photograph fishermen. This small village was the home of Gregorio Fuentes who was
    Hemingway’s captain and his model for the Old Man and the Sea.
  • Dinner at chosen paladar

Dec 14

  • Early morning visit Finca la Vigia in San Francisco de Paula which was Ernest Hemingway
    home from 1940-1960.
  • Lunch at the iconic restaurant La Guarida which was a setting for the famous Cuban cinema
    “Strawberry & Chocolates”
  • Afternoon Trip to boxing ring in Old Town Havana

Dec 15

  • Early morning visit to El Cristo, The Christ, while taking a boat across the bay with

Dec 16

  • After breakfast group will head to San Lazaro to capture candid moving images of believers
    participating in the pilgrimage.
  • Early afternoon return to Havana where participants will be on their own.

Dec 17

  • Return to San Lazaro
  • Early afternoon we will return to Havana and visit the Cristobal Colon cemetery

Dec 18 Havana-Trinidad

  • Leave for Trinidad after breakfast
  • Arrive at private homes where we will be staying and meet the owners.
  • Meet local photographer and author Julio Muñoz who will talk about his work and experience
    as a photographer. His home will be our meeting & departure point. All participants must be
    respectful of the chosen meet time so we can all be out on the street as a team.
  • Lunch at Cubita Restaurant
  • Walk around the town pebble covered streets while discovering fascinating faces and places.
  • Sunset photography walk through trinidad’s wonderful colonial streets
  • Welcome dinner at a local restaurant

Dec 19

  • Early rise to capture the beauty of the place which is the most preserved colonial city in
  • Meet and photograph dancers of the folkloric dance school in Trinidad
  • Visit a cigar factory
  • Lunch at an organic Farm
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

Dec 20

  • Early breakfast
  • Drive in an old US car to explore Tower Valley mills and a near by town.
  • Lunch at an organic Farm
  • Return to Havana

Dec 21 Havana to Miami

  • Depending on Airport time, day to be on your own exploring and shooting.
  • Visit one of the Synagogue in Havana and talk and meet some of its members this is optional so
    we could do a different activity.


Terms & Conditions


In Havana and Trinidad* we will be visiting artist’s studios, the local farmers market, farms, boxing and musical venues and plenty of places that will present to us in a magical way. I will also email you a list of some must-see places in Havana which you can see on your own time.

* If visiting Trinidad is not doable then we will be visiting Pinar del Rio and Viñales. Pinar del Rio is the home of Cuba best tobacco fields. We will be meeting with a local tobacco farmer who will explain the whole process of how a great cigar is made. Then we will drive to Viñales a natural beautiful canvas dramatically situated in a deep and wide fertile and farming valley hugged by large isolated steep-sided mountain or mogotes making this region probably the most picturesque in Cuba.

Books On Cuba: Lots of great travel or fiction books to read regarding Cuba. Some of my favorites are:

1. The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

2. Cuba by Walker Evans

3. Insight Guide Cuba APA Houghton Mifflin Company

4. Our Man in Havana by Graham Green

5. The Reader’s Companion to Cuba by Alan Ryan

6. Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson

7. The Che Handbook by Hilda Barrio & Gareth Jenkins

8. Paradiso by Jose Lezama Lima

9. The Wise Women of Havana by Jose Raul Bernard

10. Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia


To hold your space, we require a non-refundable deposit of $1,000.00 USD


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Cuba March 2016




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