New England fashion and beauty photographer

Posts tagged “Connecticut

Jordan and Christina

To be loved by you – Josh Turner


Cuba Medio Libre

Cuba Medio Libre (half-free Cuba)…  it’s a spin on the expression and drink name that serves as a pun, a paradox and a true statement all at the same time.  It’s also the best way that I can describe the country in 3 words.  Cuba is in a state of limbo.  It has one foot in the past and one foot in the present.  The relationship with the US has taken steps forward and steps backward.  Cuba is 90 miles away from the tip of Florida, and a world away in terms of culture.  I think people in the US have a tendency to create assumptions of a country based upon what they’ve seen in the media, the type of government that a country has, pop culture, etc.  But I challenge anyone to go to Cuba and see if those assumptions are not constantly warped as you dig into the seeming endless layers of culture, identity and history that this country will throw at you. Cuba is challenging and perplexing, but it is also invigorating.  An area that I see this is by the way that one can experience history in Cuba.  In the United States, we view history on a linear basis.  Decades are clearly defined by their style, architecture, cars, etc.  In Cuba, history is seemingly circular.  One can experience different eras all at the same time.  You can be walking down the Malecón, viewing the dusty eroded facades of 19th century buildings juxtaposed with 16th century Spanish forts while hearing the buzz from taxis, which are cars from the 50s and 60s, sometimes decked out in black lights and blaring reggaeton.  It’s a lot to see.  It’s a lot to hear.  It’s a lot to absorb.  It’s an assault on the senses, and also an assault on your sense of the world.

Despite the political climate, Cuba is also a very welcoming country.  I felt safer here than any foreign country that I’ve traveled to.  The challenges with technology and communication are real.  However, I felt that also added to the experience of Cuba.  There is a sense of interdependence that a traveler will feel there after a couple of days.  Challenges are best overcome by communication and building relationships.  I found myself in some very unlikely circumstances, but also found support in the most unlikely of places.  Those were seemingly difficult challenges, which turned into experiences… which taught me a lot about a the people of Cuba.  I will never forget them.

I want to thank Alejandro Peñalver and Cubamodela modeling agency for collaborating with me and providing the talent for the photoshoots.  I want to thank Nayvis Fernandez, Carla Guiardinú Reyes, Gina Martínez and Brenda Estrada Enríquez for allowing me to showcase your beauty and talent in the streets of Havana.  I also want to thank Havana designer, Jose Luis, for collaborating with me on the shoot with Nayvis.

Part of my goal for this trip was to network and lay the foundation to create the opportunity that other photographers can experience shooting models and fashion in Cuba the way that I did.  Photographers who are interested in possibly participating in a fashion photography workshop in Havana later this year or early 2018, please reach out to me through email via my website at www.josheskridge.com

Cuba survival guide

A couple of days before hopping on a flight to Cuba from Miami, Trump made the announcement that he would be scaling back the progress with opening relations and easing travel restrictions that had started with the Obama administration.  At the time of writing this, there has not been any legislation or policies defined as to the exact limitations that are going to be in place.  So needless to say, it is tenuous at this point.  The focus of Trump is that he wants to eliminate individual tourist travel, and he wants to prohibit the patronage of US citizens with companies that are owned by the Cuban government (e.g. large hotels).  Companies and airlines have begun scaling back their options and frequency of travel to Cuba.  If you travel to Cuba, it has to be one of the 12 acceptable reasons for travel.  I’m pasting a link to the website on American Airline below that lists those reasons.  I booked my flight through American Airlines.  When you book, you will have to declare your reason for travel.  A travel counselor will call you before your trip; mine called about a week before.  There is no need to buy a visa until you get to the airport in Miami.  At the Miami airport, they have a special check-in station for Cuba, where you can purchase your visa for $100.  I recommend getting there at least 2 hours before your scheduled departure time.

https://www.aa.com/i18n/plan-travel/destinations/cuba.jsp?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=cuba

Money – If you are a US citizen, you have to carry cash with you.  I contacted my bank before my trip, and they assured me that I would be able to use my debit card to access my checking account while in Cuba.  This was not the case at all, so please do not make the same mistake I did.  You will not be able to use any type of credit card or debit card if you’re a US citizen and you have a US bank.  Money transfer services, such as Western Union, are also challenging.  A US citizen cannot send money to another US citizen in Cuba, and even sending money to a Cuban citizen is challenging.  I suggest estimating the amount that you will need, and plan on worst-case scenario situations.  I always wear a money belt when I travel in foreign countries, where I keep my passport and money.  Do not keep your money all in one place, and do not carry it all on you at one time, unless you need to.  I would suggest making sure that you always have plenty of small bills on you.  It can be challenging, for example, when you need a taxi ride, as they will often say that they do not have change for your bill, which may or may not be the case.

Cell phones – It’s best to use Cuba as an opportunity to disconnect.  I have Sprint, and even with their “international plan,” I ended up incurring charges of almost $200 in 1 day.  When I found that out, I told them to cut my line.  I went to a Cuban cell provider and purchased a Cuban line and cheap cell phone for about $80.  This was necessary for me because I had to communicate with several people while in Cuba to arrange photo shoots.  However, if it not necessary for you to communicate with people in Cuba by phone, then simply contact your cell provider beforehand and see how much it will be for an international package or just limit yourself to using the wifi hotspots and minimal texting.  Also, I recommend downloading a Cuba travel guide app for your phone prior to arriving in Cuba.  You will want one that you can use offline.  I tried downloading one while I was in Cuba and was not able to due to restrictions.

Internet – Let me start by saying that the internet is not free in Cuba.  Internet access is restricted to certain wifi hotspots in Havana, usually parks and hotels.  You will need to purchase a card from ETESCA.  That can be from several licensed stores or bodegas in Havana.  It has also become a popular business for people at the wifi spots to sell cards, for a profit obviously.  The cost of getting connected will run you about $2-$3 USD per hour.  My suggestion would be to go to Hotel Florida in Old Havana and purchase a card in the shop, then have a nice coffee while surfing the web.  Below is a useful guide to the current wifi situation in Havana.

https://insightcuba.com/blog/2017/03/05/havanas-wifi-hotspots-and-getting-online-cuba

Where to stay – I highly suggest using AirBnb in Cuba.  It can be a great way to have an authentic experience, and the hosts are amazing at providing valuable information that you’ll need during your trip.  The main challenge that I found is that I was not able to book AirBnb through the AirBnb app while in Cuba.  Therefore, you will need to have your whole trip booked before you arrive or have another means of booking it directly while in Cuba.

I want to thank my AirBnb hosts, Lidia and Fidel, for not only being welcoming hosts, but for being my guardian angels in Cuba.  The link to their AirBnb is below.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/9173931?wl_source=list&wl_id=219923559&role=wishlist_owner&adults=1&children=0&infants=0

I also want to thank my 2nd AirBnb host, Eduardo, for having an amazing place in Old Havana and providing so much help and answering many questions during my stay.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g147271-d2436002-Reviews-Suite_Habana-Havana_Ciudad_de_la_Habana_Province_Cuba.html

Havana texture pack

Photographers are welcome to download and use the textures in the Dropbox folder below.  I only ask that you share my blog post if you do download them.

http://bit.ly/2v0FN22

 

N28A4959N28A3497psN28A2995N28A4906N28A4257psN28A3101N28A5242psN28A4884N28A0407psN28A4810N28A4125psN28A3186N28A4644ps-2N28A4827N28A5151psN28A3163N28A0131psN28A3266N28A3839psN28A4896N28A4465psN28A3228N28A9798psN28A3149N28A0433psN28A3108N28A3118N28A3458psN28A3033N28A4391psN28A3062N28A5094psN28A9846N28A0223psN28A4931N28A3089N28A3404psN28A3012N28A4208-EditN28A3209N28A4085

 

 

 


Amy and Drew

 

This is the story of a fairy tale wedding, caught on March 11th of 2016.  I could not have asked for a better couple or location to capture.  I don’t shoot many weddings, but the ones that I do I always view as unique and special.  I’m lucky to have couples that give me the leeway to capture their day in my own way.  Special thanks for Gary Barragan for backing me up as 2nd shooter.

Congrats to Amy and Drew and may you have a life full of happiness in each other’s comfort.

Message from Amy and Drew:

Drew and I are truly blown away with what Josh and Gary did with our wedding day. Talking to Josh beforehand about the feel I had envisioned was so easy… Because that’s WHY I picked Josh. I wanted our wedding to be art. An expression of how it feels to be around me and Drew: our personalities, our style, but most importantly our love for each other and the commitment we made on that day. One particular shot is truly beautiful in so many ways. Josh and Gary captured the true act of love in a picture of Ezekiel’s hands giving Drew the rings before the vows. This picture means more than a thousand words. Our wedding day was a day full of so much fun, creativity, gratitude, joy, family, and friends. It was very small and intimate, and with your all’s help, it really was a fairy tale. Thank you for your love and support as we embark on our new journey. Josh, you and Gary outdid yourselves. #teamshark Hair- Ana Catalina Perez, Dress made by- Lauren Woods

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