He was born in Bayamo in the eastern region of Cuba in 1968. Two years later, his father started as a photo reporter for Granma, Cuba's national newspaper. lsmael grew up surrounded by cameras that soon became the toys that he played with.
He got his first camera at age eight. It was an old fashioned Russian Smena8 that he still keeps as a memento. He went with his father to many places and events and learned the tricks of the trade. ln 1978, he published his first photograph in the weekly newspaper Granma Campesino.
He joined the Granma newspaper in 1987 working in their photo lab. Two years later he entered the University of Havana and obtained a degree in journalism in 1994.
As a professional who was trained in the black and white tones of the darkroom, his images do not conform to any specific journalistic style. He covers all of them with the idea of discovering something new. Ismael states that he constantly thinks about the challenges of capturing the best image and how to overcome those hurdles.
ln the year 2000 he joined the Prensa Latina News Agency and today is the Head of the Photography Department. He has covered numerous important events in and outside of Cuba including the Pan American Games, Latin American Summits, and the visit of Pope john Paul II.
His work has been shown in exhibitions together with pictures from such famous Cuban artists as Korda, Liborio, and Corrales. He recently received an award at the World Conference of News Agencies held in Spain for one of the best disaster photos of the year.