When photographer Amber Mahoney set out for Cuba, she went from the pastel edifices and cobblestone streets of Havana to small cities and fishing villages around the country. She found rhythms of routine: men smoking on city streets, women walking with their kids, and couples driving down the highway. “I got in touch with a driver,” she says, “and with my broken Spanish, I asked him, ‘Please, take me where the tourists don’t go.’”
She was drawn mostly to women and children, aiming to capture a more nuanced portrait of Cuba than is typically represented in dominant Western media. In one particularly striking shot, a child sits on the sidewalk in a moment of meditative focus. “The goal of most of my photo projects these days … is to spread empathy and compassion where I can and create spaces for human connection,” she said. “In my limited scope, that was ultimately what I was trying to work toward.” Click ahead to see a portfolio from her travels.