Photo by David Barbour

Photo by David Barbour




Join David Barbour in his 20th trip to Havana and discover one of the most intriguing destinations to challenge your photographic abilities.  As an assignment photographer, David has travelled to more than 40 countries and since 1994 he has photographed in Havana every year, documenting life on the street. The strength and kindness of the Cuban people has motivated this ongoing, personal project to continue and evolve. The workshop is structured to give students a range of opportunities over the week. This commitment of time and the nature of the place will ensure that you will see a dramatic improvement in your photographs. He will take you to locations throughout the region and give you exercises in photographing a range of subjects, from people to architecture. All the exercises will highlight the importance of compositional elements to make your photographs unique to your experience. Throughout the day, he reviews your work on your camera and suggests how to improve your approach to what you are photographing. There will be two full critiques in the evening during the week, usually in a restaurant along the Malecon, where students will  share their photographs with other students. A final critique will be held in Ottawa.

On Saturday, we will slowly walk along the Malecon to Old Havana where one can be assured a range of events will be taking place. Street performers, artists selling their work, and book markets in the oldest part of a city introduce a week of street life that we will explore. One day we will cross the bay to Regla by ferry and discover a a quiet neighbourhood that few tourists know of. We will also take a cab to Cojimar, a quiet fishing village where Hemingway docked his boat. Both Regla and Cojimar give students an introduction to life in Cuba today, beyond the beat of the city. Havana is on the verge of economic revival with the arrival of numerous American educational tour groups. Beyond the range of international tourists that visit the city, the coming of the Americans is changing the city.  New hotels, restaurants and, more importantly, street lights are lighting up neighbourhoods that were impossible to photograph at night. Day and night, people and the urban landscape will challenge your technical and creative choices as a photographer. See it, before it changes forever.

Students book their own airfare and hotel at or and choose their length of stay as well as address their own comfort level. Reasonable price hotels include the Hotel Vedado, Colina or St. John’s. The workshop will start Saturday morning at 9am on April 23, 2016 at the Hotel Vedado.  A pre-departure and post trip class will be organized at SPAO.

To view David's photographs, please visit  If you have any questions, please email him at

Students must purchase their own film and have their own manual 35 mm film or digital SLR camera. As this is an intermediate-level course, participants are expected to have a working knowledge of their equipment. Recommended SPAO prerequisites are Back to Basics: Film or Foundations in Digital Photography or their equivalent in experience or from another institution. Enrollment is limited to ensure one-on-one attention.

Please contact us to register

(613) 562-3824