CubaPLUS Magazine

David Estrada, photography, a way to take care of nature?

By: Mercy Ramos
David Estrada, photography, a way to take care of nature?

David Estrada is one of those people capable of making decisions in favor of what he most likes to do and, in this case, he decided to leave the university where he was studying biology, despite his insecurities about his determination, to dedicate himself to photography: his life, his work, his study and his hobby.

Photography, a way to take care of nature?In a virtual conversation with this journalist, as Estrada is currently part of the Bojeo expedition to Cuba, a spectacular journey that covers some 7,500 kilometers of the island's coastline, he talked about his beginnings in the art of light: "When I was studying biology at the University of Havana, they talked about ecology and environmental care. That's when I began to lean more towards spreading and raising awareness about nature and I found in photography the most expeditious and comfortable way to do it.

"And, without realizing it, I was devoting more time and effort to photography than to biology. When I made the decision to drop out of school and jump right into this profession, fears, insecurities and preconceived ideas about having a college degree or not came up. Even so, I followed my instinct and none of those prejudices stopped me," he said.

For this young man, the art of the lens is a constant in his life. "It is my work, my study and my hobby. It is the way I have found to express what I observe and question about my surroundings. Professionally, I am always trying to improve and better myself, looking for new projects, new references and new ways," he added.

Photography, a way to take care of nature?Referring to the importance given to photography in Cuba, he said that "it has always been quite prolific: from all those studios on O'Reilly Street in Old Havana, through the 1960s, when the Revolutionary Epic photographers did very good works. Nowadays there is a lot of dynamism with exhibitions, workshops, meetings and talks that enrich not only the artists, but also the cultural life of the country. 

Although he has been in the profession for only five years, Estrada has participated in numerous exhibitions in Cuba and abroad, as well as in several magazines and has collaborated in the implementation of communication campaigns, among them Cuba Vive and Código Sí.

As for his work, he said that he often seeks as a source of inspiration other artistic expressions such as cinema, in readings especially adventure and non-fiction, or in paintings and considered that there is always something that can add or support his creative process.
In that sense, he mentioned some notable photographers of the country that in some way have influenced his work, among them Raúl Corrales and Raúl Cañivano, and the contemporary Leysis Quesada Vera and Daylene Rodríguez Moreno. The first two for their ability to see and capture very peculiar images and the second for the way they create their projects and interweave stories.

Commenting on his projects, he stressed the importance of his participation in the Bojeo a Cuba, organized by Naturaleza Secreta and several scientific organizations in the country, because it offers him the possibility of complementing the images with other narrative resources, "something I had been looking for for a long time and that I would like to continue shaping in future endeavors, because, beyond a decorative postcard, I consider photography a visual and communicative tool to tell stories that raise awareness".

Photography, a way to take care of nature?With the pandemic in 2020 "new expressive concerns arose in me and I have been moving away from reflecting panoramic views of landscapes and nature. Now I try to capture how man interacts with his environment, I try to find, above all, stories of people who live together and work for the conservation of the environment. I believe that this is where the reality I am most interested in showing is, in order to also create awareness through empathy. I thank those who have opened up to me, allowed me to portray them and show their problems, whether social or environmental, and how they overcome them in the place where they live. I feel very comfortable doing this work, it is very satisfying," he concluded.

Estrada currently works as a photographer for the Naturaleza Secreta project, a communication platform with 20 years of experience in audiovisual production, with documentaries and many other audiovisuals on nature and the environment, geography, culture, history and Cuba's productive sectors, with the aim of revealing essences, human values, feelings and life stories that are often not made visible through traditional communication practices.


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