Elegy to Havana

I have recently come back from a trip to Cuba, which was a truly fascinating experience. Havana especially was remarkable, but I have to confess that I didn't feel quite the way I had expected about it. Friends who had been there were hugely complementary of the atmosphere and the culture, but my experiences of the city were quite different. I spent 4 days photographing various elements of the city, including the people, the buildings, the cars (very cliched, I know) and for a while I couldn't quite put a finger on why I felt a certain negativity, until I happened upon a scene outside an old cinema that had the title 'Elegy' written on the hoarding, with a man sweeping up below it. That was it! The city felt like an elegy; a lament for the dead. It seemed to me as though Havana was in mourning; the buildings crumbling, the cars coughing and spluttering and the people repressed and desperate for air, for life. I may be wrong, and as a tourist it is so difficult to see beneath the surface, but Havana felt like its soul had been taken and it was waiting (longing) for happiness to arrive.