My Launching as a Photographer

Daisy Valera

My first photo published in a printed newspaper.

I’ve never bought a camera for myself, though I’d really like to!

On several occasions I’ve toyed with the idea of learning something about photography, but I’ve always let the notion drop.

The majority of cameras I’ve seen cost more than 100 CUC (about $110 USD) – a sum that speaks for itself.

But it didn’t matter, somehow (I don’t know exactly how) I ended up getting a picture of mine splashed across page 4 of the weekly newspaper Trabajadores this past Monday (March 14).

Trabajadores is the newspaper of the island’s only trade union, the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC).

You can probably imagine my astonishment when I it saw there, in the section called “Open Mailbox,” the very photo that I used in Havana Times (HT) for my article on the elimination of subsidies on toiletries.

My photo headed a commentary titled “Venta Centralizada” (Centralized Sale), written by Daniel Urbino Gonzalez.

Venta illustrated the case of people who stockpile toiletries, which have been eliminated from ration books, and then re-sell them at higher prices.

This is a problem that — as I had commented in my article — could end up happening with the release of these products onto the domestic market.

I continued reading, unable to believe that the small photo taken with an Ipod was in one of the most widely read papers in Cuba.

Of course my name didn’t appear in a caption, but that didn’t bother me; I’m not an ardent champion of copyrights.

In the picture I put together several bars of soap and a tube of Dentex toothpaste coming out of a plastic bag. I had managed to take the photo myself, and it had been good enough for my purposes.

This fact serves to demonstrate that HT is being increasingly read by Cubans (it was the only way they could have gotten a copy of the picture).

It’s the first photo taken by me to have appeared in the printed press, and — jokingly — one might say it’s my first step as a photographer.