Photo Cuba 2012 Testimonials:

“Fantastic in every way. I got what I had wanted out of the workshop and so much more. Meeting the Cuban people and connecting with so many has enriched my photos and made the trip so memorable.”
Nicola Gordon, Photo Cuba 2012

“While a bit nervous to visit the first time, the trip was magical and memorable…a life changing experience. “Trina and Company” are totally awesome! They all make the travel as easy and comfortable as possible (go with the flow), and the lectures and critiques were very organized, informative and stress-free, regardless of one’s photo level. I grew on this trip, and I hope to visit again!”
Anne Pace, Photo Cuba 2012

“Photo Cuba has been a life changing experience and profoundly paramount to my evolving photography. Loved Cuba, Trina and Company- top trip EVER!”
Pat Gardener, Photo Cuba 2012

“The team was fantastic- approachable and flexible. I would definitely recommend this workshop to others. Loved it, loved it, loved it!”
Giovanna Gatti, Photo Cuba 2013, 2012

“Very well thought out, planned and well co-ordinated.”
Darlene Lamb, Photo Cuba 2013, 2012, 2009, 2006

“It was a pleasure to participate in the Photo Cuba workshop for a third time and to sense the energy and enthusiasm of the younger participants. And they even tolerated with good grace an old geezer like me! We really appreciated their good grace and kindness.”
Bob Liptrap, Photo Cuba 2012, 2007, 2006

Photo Cuba 2011 did not happen...Laura had a beautiful baby boy instead!

Photo Cuba 2010 Testimonials:

"It's exactly what I needed/wanted/expected- it truly was an opportunity of a lifetime!  You provided the opportunity and the vehicle to truly be able to grow in photography, and to feel good in your own skin while doing it!"
-Monica Grau, 2010 Photo Cuba Workshop Participant

“Love the light here in the early AM!”
-Joyce Brant, Photo Cuba 2010

“Thank-you! Thank-you! For an experience of a lifetime!”
-Sandra Roamer, Photo Cuba 2010

“Once again the critiques have been excellent and so very, very helpful and constructive. German’s final critique is a very special gift.”
-Burna Wilton, Photo Cuba Participant 2009 & 2010

“I think the critiques are great. You always learn just as much from everyone else’s images as you do your own. It’s cool when you leave the critique feeling better about your images because we’re always so critical of your own work and they point out the good things. German’s perspective is always very interesting!”
-Melissa Glidden, Photo Cuba Participant 2009 & 2010

“What exceeded my expectations was the blossoming of deep appreciation and connection with the Cuban people, my classmates, and a newly discovered spiritual side to me that I never knew existed. I have a strong desire to return to this exact location again and hopefully that will be through Photo Cuba 2011. Thank you for an amazing experience!
-Karen Connelly, returning to Photo Cuba 2012

“There is no price that can be put on what you can take out of this experience. The workshop has made me a much better photographer.”
-Jim C, Photo Cuba 2010

“It’s hard to separate the workshop and non-workshop experience. The workshop brought so much to the table; language, cultural exchange, humanity, clarity. It was not just a photo workshop. It was more how one should travel through life. I think I’ll throw up now.
-David Sunderland, Photo Cuba 2010

"The people of Cuba are so resilient, resourceful and creative.  Their music and spirit is infectious and also admirable."
-2010 Photo Cuba Workshop Participant

Photo Cuba 2009 Testimonials

Highlight as singular is almost impossible - Photographing kids and grand-parents in family units in the village was tops. Cultural and spiritual discussions were right up there as well. Overall the workshop provided a unique experience in the creativity and art of photography along with technical details. The stress on culture and art and the opportunities to experience the people, the music and dance and the joy of life in a supportive environment were amazing.
-- Jim Wilton

A huge bouquet to all of you who have had the courage and creativity to make this workshop a reality for us... Will draw on these very special memories for years to come. Muco Gracias!
-- Burna Wilton

The highlight for me was how welcoming the people were to us. The fact that these “strangers” are opening up their lives to us and giving us their time, gifts (eg. fruit, Chaisser’s {music} show) and wanting to share their culture with us was so amazing to me. I am very sad to be leaving and I really want to come back next year and contribute more to them.
-- Melissa Glidden

The highlight: So hard to pick one - so I won’t! I loved the dance/music in the gallery. Loved Trina’s critique. Loved Trina’s demos on portrait photography. Loved Laura's Spanish lessons. Loved the fact that I feel like I got to learn a little (and got some access to) the real Cuba. But more than that - the workshop was challenging at the perfect level for every individual photographer - a real feat. And what a supportive, encouraging team! Also - there was time to be on your own, do your own thing and explore up to (and even beyond) your comfort level (good for us introverts).
-- Sandra Herber

I Love you guys --- my heart is so full!! Thank you.
I think it’s your joy, your respect for each other and us is what makes this absolutely the best workshop. Trina, Laura, and others... You know I have been to workshops taught by other photographers --- some world wide famous ___ and I AM telling you.... (now don’t let this go to your heads).... it is my belief that you are the best... (and I’m not trying to butter you up for better critiques either!!)
-- Darlene Lamb

I would rate this experience in the 90th percentile.
-- Ken Roberts

Thank you for the opportunity to explore this wonderful place and meet such warm lovely people. I feel my work has improved by a level from this experience.
-- Anonymous (from student feedback form)

The music & dancing in the art gallery was by far the most amazing part of the trip for me. The intimate setting, the band was amazing,and the dancers were incredible! I didn’t take pictures of this because I didn’t want to miss anything.

The guides were very helpful, patient and available at all times.

The people on the trip were amazing! A great creative holiday with a wealth of knowledge available if you so desired. A lot of thought and preparation went into planning this trip and it was very apparent as the week unfolded. I love the fact that we pooled our tips and donations so that as many people as possible will benefit instead of just a few.
-- Anonymous (from student feedback form)

What did it take for me to be here? 26 years since my first camera, always loving photography - always feeling lost in a good way, or captured/captivated in the taking of or look at photos; doing “so-so” in the only course in photography in University - then recently picking this trip over a journey to see aging relatives in Ireland, & seriously focussed recuperating from a recent illness. Thank you for accepting me & allowing me to grow & refocus & enhance my journey.
-- Anonymous

Terrific group of Participants. Great job organizing! We all realize the huge amount of work and co-ordination it took (especially in Cuba).
-- Anonymous

Highlight: The people. Being greeted like a long lost relative or best friend from childhood.
-- Anonymous

PhotoCuba 2008:

"I thoroughly enjoyed the experience- the people were lovely, friendly and I learned a lot."
--- Gerry Chaundler, England

"I have had an absolutely wonderful experience and a new area in my life has opened up. I feel a freedom not experienced before. The setting, the people were perfect!"
--- Margaret Bell, Guelph Ontario

"Overall, an amazing experience-more than I'd ever hope for."
--- Judy Osman, Campbellville

"I found the Photo Cuba 2008 workshop very inspiring. I loved the setting of the village (Chivirico) and found everyone very welcoming. I also feel I have developed my photography thanks to Trina, Laura, German and all of the wonderful participants of our trip. Thanks for a fantastic trip!"
--- Renee Fleming, Guelph Ontario

"This was a wonderful, "curated" experience that added unique perspectives on art, photography and Cuba."
--- Mary Roberts, Guelph Ontario

From the anomymous workshop evaluations:
For many people photographing on locations at people's homes in the village, in caves and natural settings and in Santiago de Cuba and the photographic critiques were the biggest highlights of the workshop.

When asked what location did you like the best? One participant wrote;
"Chivircio- these people have SOUL! I can see it!! They are not afraid to show it as we are."

PhotoCuba! 2007 and 2006:

"A return visit for us to Chivirico with Trina's second Photo Cuba class was a must! Why? Because the well organized classes built upon previous photo experiences and once again provided an intimate photographic introduction to the Cuban people and their culture - the colour, the warmth, their friendliness and generosity. An unforgettable experience. Thanks Trina."
--- Bob and Pat Liptrap, Guelph Ontario

PhotoCuba! 2006:

"I want you and Trina to know that I came home more present and connected... to my heart and soul, my creativity and intuition...and my world. Thank you for that!" --- Gerry Lodder, Toronto Ontario

"I remember this trip not so much as taking pictures, but as sharing images. I really like the idea of balancing our imposition with giving back to the community-in fact I wish that it could always be balanced more heavily on the latter- I think you are really on to something here. It was a wonderful trip."
---Tom Buis, Toronto Ontario

PhotoCuba 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010!

You know how whenever your high school English teacher would complain that the expression “life changing experience” was trite and hackneyed? Well, there are no other words to express our life changing experiences in Chivirico!

It all started in February, 2006 with our first trip to the southeast coast of Cuba. This, because Trina’s description of what was to be her inaugural PhotoCuba workshop sounded just too interesting and exciting to pass up. While there was no way to know exactly what to expect from the hotel, the village and the local Cubans, we were quite sure that whatever Trina had to offer in the way of photography lessons would be, at the very least, worthwhile. The temptation of sun and photo-making in new surroundings (and an excuse to escape our own cold winter) was just too hard to resist, and so we signed on. And we signed on again in 2007. And we signed on again in 2008.

In addition, we have returned to “our” little village of Chivirico three more times. Six trips to the same tropical location in a matter of only twenty six months surely tells the whole story. If not, then our literally thousands and thousands of photos complement the telling and the retelling.

From both a photographic and a personal point of view, Chivirico is unlike any other place in the world. It is enticing and seductive. Add Trina’s excellent touch as a teacher of photography and traveling companion, and you truly do have magic.

Charming and pretty, and with a spectacular view of the Sierra Maestra Mountains and the Caribbean Sea, Los Galeones Brisas Hotel is perched atop a small mountain, with a road leading directly into the village. From the gardeners to the wait staff to the management you can expect a daily dose of hugs and kisses. Remember, this is a small hotel, with a family atmosphere. Nowhere are we welcomed more warmly. We always stay on after the workshop; it’s just too alluring (and inexpensive - and the food is great, too!) to pass up!

We are drawn to the village and our dear friends and “our family”, over and over again. Whether it is just to sit on Tia and Tio’s porch sipping hot, sweet and locally grown coffee: or just to hang out at a baseball game; or, from time to time, at the local concert venue (Nautica, where the admission will set you back about a quarter - and that’ll cover you and a few of your friends); or to share a meal in one of their homes, or to sit on a rooftop to observe the eclipse of the moon - photo taking and making are an ongoing process.

It is pretty well guaranteed that nowhere else in the world will you find people so amenable to being photographed as they go about their daily business. Each of the three times we’ve taken the PhotoCuba course, we’ve learned something new about ourselves and what contributes to successful photomaking. Each of the three times that we’ve taken the course, we’ve found it engaging.

The progression in the style of our own work is obvious and noticeable. Trina is a fine teacher; her pedagogy, exemplary. Her respectful and thoughtful encouragement always spurs us on to new and different ways of looking at our subject matter, and our creativity has become so much more fluid and emotional.
Just when we think we can’t squeeze out one more photo from the little village of Chivirico, on the southeast shore of Cuba, inspiration strikes again.

We shall definitely be keeping in touch with Trina and the gang in Guelph. ‘Cuz not only have we formed fast friendships in Chivirico, but with our fellow PhotoCuba travelers!

¡Muchisimas gracias por todo, Trina, y tienes suerte!

Alan Madras y Ruth Howard, Toronto