Traveling and taking pictures is a passion for many, but not everyone has the opportunity to see the world from above. Unless, of course, someone does the hard work for us and then gives us portraits of their wonderful and unique view of the world.
The book, Unseen Cuba, is a project that took five years to come to fruition. After having photographed Lithuania and Belize from great heights, JovaiÅ¡a went in search of the next step.
“I went to see Cuba and realized that nobody has been able to take aerial pictures of that amazing country because of [a] secretive political regime and technical difficulties,â€ JovaiÅ¡a told HuffPost via email.
â€œI thought it would be awesome to try to become the first man on the planet who could convince the Cuban government to give permission for such an endeavour,â€ he continued, adding that he always hoped a book like this would attract the attention of many countries.
JovaiÅ¡a explained that aerial photography in particular is something that began to interest him 12 years ago.
But with Cuba, the challenge of taking aerial photographs was even greater. With his own resources, JovaiÅ¡a had to buy an aircraft to fly over the island and allow him to capture the landscapes. Anywhere else in the world, renting a helicopter could have been a good option — but not in the island country, where the only helicopter rental service was located in Havana and offered an oversized, Russian-made MI-8 helicopter that, he says, wasnâ€™t â€œviable to operate in all country.â€
â€œAfter being granted the principal permission to take aerial photos of Cuba, the major issue was what to use for getting airborne,â€ JovaiÅ¡a explained. â€œIn other countries I would always find a little plane or an ultralight to rent but for Cuba I needed to buy my own airplane.â€
The photographer ordered an ultralight aircraft
The results of the time-consuming process and the $1 million investment
The Lithuanian photographer himself was amazed by the aerial view of the Latin American country.
â€œAmazing views of the Baracoa city and its surroundings are deeply imprinted in my mind,â€ JovaiÅ¡a said. â€œI like Trinidad and Playa Ancon in the central south part of the country. Valle [de] ViÃ±ales is also among my favorites. Another place of incredible beauty is Cayerias del Norte, east of Varadero, where you find Cayo Las Brujas, Cayo Santa Maria and others.”
Falling in love with Cuba may be easy for those who have visited the island, but JovaiÅ¡a wants those who havenâ€™t had the opportunity to set foot in the country to be able to feel the same way through his book. He hopes that people around the world can see the islandâ€™s beauty through his photos and realize this locationâ€™s great value.
“Cuba is a wonder of nature and human history, [an] absolutely unique place in the world,â€ he said. â€œIt has an amazing variety of landscapes, both natural and man-made. It is also frozen in time as there have not been very many developments since 1959.â€
But for the photographer, Cuba is more than that. Beyond the fantastic images, the warmth of the island and its people is something JovaiÅ¡a familiarized himself with quite well during his years there.
â€œThe people of Cuba are incredibly sincere, welcoming, warm and tough because of difficult and poor life conditions,â€ he said. â€œBut instead of breaking them, the difficulties made them very strong and inventive. I have made so many good friends in Cuba during those five years. Our team of pilot Roberto Gonzales and engineer Ariel Ortega has become like a family!â€
Currently Unseen Cuba has only been published in English, but JovaiÅ¡a hopes that next year a Spanish-language edition will be produced.
You can see the aerial photographs of Cuba taken by Marius JovaiÅ¡a below, and visit the Unseen Cuba to learn more about the project and buy a copy of the book.
This is a translation of an April 29 HuffPost Voces article that originally appeared here
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