Join National Geographic travel photographer & Cuba expert Christopher P. Baker plus acclaimed Cuban glamour and sensual fine-art portrait photographers on this one-of-a-kind photo tour as we shoot top Cuban models, ballerinas, and fashionistas in Havana’s incomparably beautiful and time-worn settings
Chris, you are a one of a kind. Really enjoyed you as a photographer, a guide, and of course as a fabulous story teller. You have so much Cuba knowledge and I loved your positive energy.
– ASA M., Jim Cline Photo Tours 2020
Chris was the perfect trip leader. His knowledge of the country and its history is vast and he enthusiastically wanted to share it with us along with his years of experience as a photographer… He’s talented, interesting, accessible, and fun to travel with. Plus, he really did seem to care about each of us — if we were okay, getting good images, too tired, too hot, etc. I would certainly travel with him again. He certainly kept up the high standards of a Jim Cline Photo Tour.
– JUDY B., Jim Cline Photo Tours 2018
This program is offered legally under the “support for the Cuban people” license, which permits all U.S. citizens to travel pre-approved to Cuba. It is designed to maximize “support for the Cuban people” through stays at private B&Bs, meals at private restaurants, and interactions with independent artists, photographers, models, and actresses, etc.
Havana is as fantastic a backdrop for glamour, erotic and sensual fine-art photography as exists in this world, given its mixture of Spanish colonial and faded baroque architecture, its wealth of 1950s American cars, and its stimulating aura of exoticism. The sense of romantic, time-worn drama is unsurpassed! To which add Cuba’s stunningly beautiful women, and their joyous at-ease delight in being photographed and in expressing their sensuality. No wonder Cuba is a top destination of choice for such publications as Elle, Vogue, and Vanity Fair.
Please join us on this one-of-a-kind photo tour that makes the most of Havana’s fantastic settings and beautiful, self-assured women. Our respectful and elegant treatment of the subject pays tribute to all that is positive about the Cuban Revolution and its advancement of women’s rights and self-determination, while also honoring their own unashamedly and affirmatively self-confident pride in expressing their sensuality.
Your tour leader & Cuban co-leaders
You get to photograph with acclaimed National Geographic author, photographer, and expedition leader Christopher P. Baker, hailed by National Geographic as “One of the world’s leading authorities on Cuba travel and culture.” Christopher’s words and images have appeared in hundreds of articles and books about Cuba, from BBC and CNN to National Geographic, Playboy and even Penthouse (as well as seven travel books on Cuba, including National Geographic Traveler Cuba, the Moon Cuba handbook, plus his coffee-table book, Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles). It’s true to say, no-one knows and loves Cuba and the Cuban people and culture as well as Christopher. Moreover, he’s led more than 100 group trips to Cuba under the “people-to-people” and “support for the Cuban people” licenses–including photographic tours for Jim Cline Photo Tours, Lumaria Workshops, National Geographic Expeditions, and Santa Fe Photographic Workshops.
Chris will also be joined throughout by local photographer Claudia Corral Mesa, granddaughter of Raúl Corrales, one of Fidel’s official photographers and the creator of many well-known iconic images. An accomplished photographer in her own right, Claudia brings her own sensibilities and delightful persona to enhance our street and situational photography. (If Claudia is unavailable, we will substitute another accomplished female Cuban photographer.)
Who should join?
This tour is designed for photographers of all standards–beginner, intermediate or professional–and especially for those who may not have previously worked with models. Although this is a tour, not a workshop, we’ll span opportunities for all aspects of sensual portrait and street photography.
Our focus will be on shooting street photography and natural settings that require minimum equipment, using natural light spontaneously (plus occasional fill-flash, and perhaps reflectors and a soft-box).
We will endeavor to create space for you to pursue your personal interests with our models, be it fashion, dance, street photography, portraits, or boudoir and erotic fine art. The goal? Editorial worthy images to be proud of!
We’ll select our models from many of Chris’ personal friends, including Lisy Delgado Napoles (Miss Cuba International 2017 and star of Fast & Furious 8); top fashion and video model Karina Valero Tieles (Miss Universo España 2019 and star of Enrique Iglesias’ Súbeme la radio and Arman Tovmasayan & Kapo Vianco’s Suma Suma); actress and TV host Edenis Sánchez Gey (most famously Inspector Susel in the Cuban TV police drama ‘Tras La Huella’); acclaimed dancer Zeleidy Crespo of Danza Acosta; plus such ballerinas as Barbara Patterson Sánchez, Gabriella Lugo and Jeannette Estrada de la Cruz of the National Ballet of Cuba. We’ll also work with Chris’ close friend and professional dancer (and aspiring model) Hanny Blackman, plus a selection of well-established Cuban models such as Glenda B. Oviedo, Michelly Flores, Gigi Maduq, Flavia Álvarez Perdomo, Isis Naomis, Karla Recary Díaz, Melony Capote, Rayma de la Caridad, Claudia Valdes, and Samantha Fernández, and perhaps even ballerina and model Brenda Estrada Enríquez (Miss Cuba 2016), and actress Arita NC. In all cases, this will depend on their availability, of course!
We aim to provide a minimum of two models daily, and sometimes three to ensure that only two or three participants are working with any one model at any time.
Thank you, Chris. It was fantastic working with your group… I love the shots that you sent me. Muy simpática!
– KARINA VALERO TIELES (PROFESSIONAL MODEL AND MISS UNIVERSO ESPAÑA 2019)
Me encanta! Ya estuve leyéndolo, espero pueda realizarse pronto, será un gran placer para mi… I love it! I was reading [the itinerary] and hope you can realize it soon. It will be a great pleasure for me.
– HANNY BLACKMAN VELÉZ (PROFESSIONAL DANCER AND ASPIRING MODEL)
In addition to shooting in Havana’s made-for-Hollywood streets, photogenically dilapidated buildings, and fabulous retro mansions, we’ll feature staged shoots at such atmospheric locations as Parque José Martí stadium…. El Morro castle… Teatro Campoamor… woodsy Bosque de la Habana… El Jardín de la Tropical… the Cojímar fishing cooperative… and a much-faded Vedado mansion where Annie Leibowitz photographed Rhianna naked for Vanity Fair.
What this tour IS and is NOT!
Although Cuba has an advanced avant-garde (and overtly erotic) art scene, the Cuban government is highly sensitive about nude photography and equally restrictive about what is permissible. It has a zero tolerance policy regarding pornography, which it defines far more broadly than North American and European standards. As Claudia Corral Mesa says: “I don’t have a problem with nudes… but it is always a thin line between nude and porn [in Cuba].”
Although several of our proposed models have previously posed nude and have expressed a desire and willingness to pose for fine-art nudes, this tour is NOT a nude photography tour. It is a tour dedicated to photographing Cuba using Cuban models as props, and to photographing female beauty and sensuality in a Cuban context. We will constantly strive to maintain a respectful and elegant treatment of the subject. It is extremely important that as photographers we remain professional and sensitive to Cuba’s cultural and legal norms throughout. Not least, this will give confidence to our models. You, too, will learn to become comfortable with planning your shoots and directing your subjects, posing them and coaching them to achieve your desired effect. Always we will respect the comfort level of our models and the opinions of Claudia and/or our other Cuban photographer co-leaders about what may or may not be appropriate to our circumstances. Any attempt on the part of a participant to solicit, encourage, or engage in pornographic poses or other improper behavior will be considered reason for instant dismissal from the tour without refund.
Our focus throughout will be on glamour and, on occasion, boudoir and fine art nudes that are statements on Cuba, not mere fashion photos or simply images of sensual or naked women. Since much of our shooting will be outdoors in public places, we will use our models as compositional elements that add dynamic perspective to intriguing street scenes and exotic locations. A sense of place is paramount! We will NOT be experimenting with a wide range of gear, lighting setups, or creative in-camera techniques. Instead, reflecting Chris’ own background as a travel photographer unencumbered by lots of gear, we will work almost exclusively with natural light.
Our fine art nude and implied nude photography should be viewed as an opportunity to create art for the sake of art, with a focus on shape, form, mood, light and shadow, and storytelling. The emphasis will be on posture, posing and composition, including placing our models in unusual settings and unexpected or fascinating scenes, and using creative approaches that play with light, scene, and an intriguing narrative. Of course, whether outdoors or in more controlled indoor settings, we’ll also experiment with the interplay of highlight and shadow and mood to express our creativity and story-telling. We will work around an idea or artistic concept rather than simply photographing our models. The viewer should be inspired to see a creative expression of beauty and elegance, or other artistic exploration, not a naked figure or body parts. Composition, texture, graphic pattern and narrative concept take precedence. This becomes even more important in fine art nude photography; sculpting and differentiating curves and musculature for artistic allure and/or erotic effect.
We’ll work with one or more of Cuba’s elite photographers specializing in fashion, glamour and/or sensual boudoir fine-art photography, such as…
RAMSES BATISTA – IZUKY PÉREZ – LUIS JOA – GABRIEL DAVALOS
TOUR DATES: MARCH 13-20, 2021 (this date is tentative and may change)
LIMITED TO 6 PEOPLE
ITINERARY (SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE)
Day 1: Saturday
We’ll meet this evening at our upscale casa particular (private B&B) in Habana Vieja. We’ll then take convertible classic American cars to dinner at La Guarida–Cuba’s most sensational dining experience!
Overnight: Hostal La Posada de Chacón (D)
Day 2: Sunday
This morning up early for a sunrise shoot on the Prado, the arcade of the Hotel Plaza, and around Parque Central with one or two models: perhaps Hanny, an aspiring model who combines grace and elegance with extreme beauty; and/or Karina, one of Cuba’s foremost fashion models. Later, we’ll explore Habana Vieja’s cobbled colonial plazas and back streets, to include Plaza del Ángel and Cinco Esquinas—famously used in many a fashion shoot—plus Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Catedral, and sensational locations such as striking staircases on Calle Empedrado and in a solar (tenement) on Calle San Ignacio. This evening we’ll dine at one of Chris’ favorite paladares (private restaurants) in Habana Vieja.
Overnight: Hostal La Posada de Chacón (BD)
Day 3: Monday
Today we’ll shoot in little-touristed southern Habana Vieja, a section teeming with earthy street life and character. First, we’ll shoot our fashion models—perhaps 6-foot-tall Glenda, lovely Michelly Flores, and/or Lisy (she famously dropped the red flag for the car race in “Fast & Furious 8”)—at a boutique lingerie and swimwear store. To add to the fun, we’ll take bicitaxis… perfect props for fun shooting as we head to Gimnasio Rafael Freyre to photograph sensual female boxers Legnis and Idamelys. We’ll end our day with a sunset shoot on the Malecón seafront boulevard. This evening we’ll dine at another of Chris’ favorite paladares in Habana Vieja.
Overnight: Hostal La Posada de Chacón (BD)
Day 4: Tuesday
This morning we’ll mix it up by shooting two or three models–perhaps dancer Zuleidy Crespo, ballerina and model Barbara Patterson from Cuba’s National Ballet, and actress Edenis Sánchez Gey–in a spectacular circa 1913 mansion that looks just as it did when the Revolution triumphed in 1959–a perfect venue for intimate boudoir photography. Here Annie Leibowitz famously photographed Rhianna nude. Let’s see if we can be just as creative! We’ll lunch nearby at Bellevue Art Café, owned by Chris’ friend and world-acclaimed photographer Sven Creutzmann. We’ll then walk just a few blocks to the workshop of Chris’ close friend Luis, where we’ll shoot models among his collection of antique Harley-Davidsons. Tonight is free for you to dine at leisure.
Overnight: Hostal La Posada de Chacón (B)
Day 5: Wednesday
Today we’ll hop in convertible classic cars with our models and head to some fabulous hot spots for glamour and sensual photography… Bosque de la Habana… Los Jardines de La Tropical… El Morro castle… Cementerio Cristóbal Colón… Fusterlandia… the fishing cooperative of Cojímar… and, of course, the palm-shaded sands of Playas del Este! Of course, we’ll use the cars to good effect as props. Tonight, we’ll dine early at yet another of Chris’ top-choice paladares before heading to the Tropicana cabaret nightclub… perhaps with a chance to photograph the dancers in their changing rooms before taking our seats to enjoy and photograph the sensual show!
Overnight: Hostal La Posada de Chacón (BD)
Day 6: Thursday
This morning we’ll shoot in the magnificently funky streets and atop the roofs of Centro Habana, including in the much-photographed tenement building that houses La Guarida restaurant. This afternoon is yours to relax and enjoy Havana at your leisure. Tonight is another night for you to explore Habana’s dining scene on your own.
Overnight: Hostal La Posada de Chacón (B)
Day 7: Friday
We’ll spend the morning with fine art nude photographer Izuky Pérez or Luis Joa, a specialist in working with ballerinas of the National Ballet. We hope to work with such talented ballet dancers as Gabriela Lugo, Chavela Riera Rodríguez and Jeannette Juaristi Torres, with venues to be determined at the time. The afternoon is free for last-minute cigar or souvenir shopping, or perhaps a visit to a must-see museum. Tonight we’ll enjoy a slideshow of everyone’s favorite images before a farewell dinner with our models and other Cuban fashionistas hosted at a superb period mansion in Vedado.
Overnight: Hostal La Posada de Chacón (BD)
Day 8: Saturday
This morning we’ll transfer participants to the airport to connect with their flights home. Or feel free to stay on in Cuba on your own time, pre-approved under the “Support for the Cuban People” license.
PRICE: $4,875 per person (single occupancy)
DEPOSIT: $750 to reserve your space (balance due 90 days prior to start date)
7 nights accommodation in listed casa particular (B&B) or similar
Meals as indicated in itinerary
Services of National Geographic photographer Chris Baker, plus Claudia Corral Mesa, other Cuban photographers, and all models
Support van and driver or other transport as needed
All inclusions as listed in the itinerary
International flight between USA and Cuba
Passport and Cuban tourist visa
Vaccinations and/or medical coverage
Meals not specified
Tips to guides, models, etc.
Items of a personal nature (alcohol, internet access fees, laundry, etc.)
Terms and Conditions
Deposit and Final Payment
A deposit is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.
- On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $350 administrative fee and less any monies spent on the participants behalf, such as airline tickets, etc.
- Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount is forfeited.
- Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
- Less than 75 days prior to departure, 100% is forfeited.
Written notification by email or letter is required for cancelation. In the unlikely event we have to cancel a tour due to a shortage of participants, a full refund will be given. If a trip needs to be canceled due to a force majeure, monies will be refunded less non-refundable monies paid to third parties on the participant’s behalf.
Christopher P. Baker LLC and his agents act only in the capacity as agents in all matters pertaining to hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, and transportation, and are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle, or the actions of any persons who provide services for this tour or for the action or inaction of any third party. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. The tour operator reserves the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person as a member of the tour for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change. All participants are required to submit a signed Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability form prior to the tour’s departure.
It is the responsibility of each tour member to inform the tour operator of any possible health problems or handicaps upon registration. By forwarding a signed reservation form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.
To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
While Christopher P. Baker endeavors to make the itinerary described herein as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate schedule of activities rather than a rigid schedule of events. Trip itineraries are subject to revision due to weather, local conditions, government restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. The tour leader has the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in his sole judgment conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the tour.