Saturday, November 22

kodak.com presents
Rick Sammon and Professor Denis Defibaugh

Photographing Cuba
March 15, 2001

Read our chat with Photographer Rick Sammon who was on hand live from Cuba along with RIT photo professor Denis Defibaugh who, with his class of 15 students and assistant professor Dawn Tower-DuBois, recently returned from a trip to this exotic country. Both answer questions about working in Cuba, share tips for getting great shots and advice on the best equipment to use.


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Kodak: Good evening. Tonight we are pleased to be able to bring co-hosts photographer Rick Sammon, on location in Cuba and Rochester Institute of Technology Photography Professor, Denis Defibaugh, to you live via this state of the art chat application. Cuba is capturing the imagination of travelers these days and tonight we will bring you some views of this exotic place. So jump right in and ask your questions Welcome Rick and Denis!

Rick Sammon: Welcome everyone to the chat, and I would recommend that all photographers try to get to Cuba because I've been traveling for 20 years and this place has exceeded my expectations. Some of the best pictures of my life in the last three days.

Denis Defibaugh: Those are great comments, Rick. I don't know if I can say the same about my photographs, but I would agree that Cuba is a great place to make images, and I think it's great you can connect to this chat from Cuba, because I know I had trouble.

Picman: Have there been any people who did not want to be subjects for your pictures?

Rick Sammon: Everybody. Everybody is more than willing to be photographed. The people here are super friendly--not only in old Havana, which is where I've been working mostly and where I recommend you go, but even out in the countryside in a small little town called Trinidad. Everybody loves posing for the camera and my Kodak EC4800 ( www.kodak.com/US/en/digital/cameras/dc4800/ ) with the LCD screen is making my photography so interactive that the people are having as much fun--or more fun than I am having, because most people have never seen a digital camera.

Jess: To you both, did you use digital and film?

Rick Sammon: I like to shoot both digital and film. Again, I have the Kodak digital camera ( www.kodak.com/US/en/digital/cameras/DCSGateway.jhtml ), but I'm also using my SLR and I'm shooting E200 ( www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/films/e200/e200Index.shtml ) because a lot of shots are in the shade of buildings. So I shoot both.

Denis Defibaugh: For myself and for the students that were in Cuba we shot both digital and film. I primarily shot color negatives, but I did shoot quite a bit of digital also with the 4800 ( www.kodak.com/US/en/digital/cameras/dc4800/ ); and I found, definitely, the preview or the LCD screen on the digital camera to be a great help. Like Rick it was exciting for our subjects to see the pictures in those screen. The students mostly photograph with color negatives, black and white and color transparency, and they did shoot with digital. We had a 4800 digital camera ( www.kodak.com/US/en/digital/cameras/dc4800/ ) we gave each student about a 5-6 hour block of time and created a timeline from the beginning of our trip to the end that the students produced when they had that camera. So it's interesting to see what 15 students came up with over the 7 days that we were there.

Suprstarz2: I am going to Cuba this summer, and I was wondering if you could tell me anything interesting that I should look for when I am in Havana?

Rick Sammon: A) Spend most of your time in Old Havana. B) Be prepared for great people pictures, great architectural pictures, and great old car pictures. Be prepared to shoot from sunrise to sunset, because the mood of this city changes from hour to hour. And please don't forget your tripod. Because at night, you'll take great pictures of the cars on the street and neon lights of hotels and you'll also be photographing people in dark streets, or people in cars and buildings, so you'll want to bring a tripod and probably at least ISO 200 film. ( www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/films/e200/e200Index.shtml )

RIT Steven Giralt: Rick, what do you think makes Cuba as interesting a place to photograph as it is?

Rick Sammon: I would say that I'm photographically very inspired here. I feel so comfortable, so relaxed, so at home. And Old Havana stopped in time like in the 1960s, so you're going back in time. You see Desoto's and Chevy's from the '50s driving around in good condition and people waving and smiling at you and against the backdrop of these incredible masses of architecturally designed buildings, many of which are crumbling, some of which are being restored. But you have interesting subjects, interesting light and interesting background. Opportunities are everywhere. You're going to have a great time.

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