Photo Feature by Caridad
HAVANA TIMES — If you were to ask me what a “cayapa” was, I would still struggle to explain the meaning of the word. I first heard it – or, rather, read it – on a flyer from the National Photography Center (CENAF), which called on all photographers, professional and not, equipped with cameras or cell phones, to take part in a kind of photography walk through the parish of Catia.
The renowned area of Catia is located to the west of Caracas, in the Sucre Parish (yes, the west, you can imagine what it’s like down there). When I arrived in Caracas, I wanted to go out to take pictures of the city’s streets. Catia has something special about it. Perhaps it’s because it is one of the oldest places in the capital, or because most of its inhabitants were born there, or perhaps because it reminds me of a Havana neighborhood. Whatever it is, the fact is that I was very anxious to take photos of its boulevard and its market…but, you all know about how unsafe those places are.
It’s natural I didn’t care to find out the meaning of the word “cayapa” and that I didn’t think twice about waking up early on a Saturday to go out and take pictures with around fifty other photographers I had never met before in my life. Our safety was guaranteed by our sheer numbers. At least, that was what the flyer insinuated, and, once we had all gathered at the Ali Primera park, this was confirmed.
The aim of the “cayapa” was no other than contributing to the photographic archives of the CENAF. It is natural such archives would be quite poor given how dangerous it is to pull out a camera mid-street, but it is ironic, bearing in mind the number of photographers who live in the capital. We delivered a dozen photos we took that morning to the institution. I was personally very happy to do so, to promote my work in a non-profit manner.
What was the “photography walk” like? One of the best days of my life. It’s not that I took such great photos, but the fact of being able to go out and walk around with a certain degree of freedom (the only restriction was time), to talk with other photography lovers, the people of Catia, the fact I’d never seen such a large group of photographers, made me feel more alive and more optimistic.
In a few months’ time, there will be another “cayapa” in another parish in Caracas. I anxiously await it. Before that new experience, I’ve planned a trip to a small town in the Andes. For the time being, here are a number of photos I took.
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