The Havana of ordinary days

Photographer : Léopold Rousseau

Location : Zone portuaire de Chicoutimi

Once grocer, butcher, and then a cemetery plot salesclerk, Léopold Rousseau took a rather curious detour before becoming a photographer! After almost 30 years of service for the Quotidien and the Journal de Québec, his images are witness to large and small media events. Recently, his work for an NGO in the Dominican Republic was part of an exhibition at the Musée de la Civilisation in Québec.

When I had traveled down to Havana, to a little hotel in the Old Town, to live in this mythical city, while walking adventurously around through unknown neighborhoods, weapon in hand, I wasn’t sure what I would find. Afro-Cuban gods watched over the grain. Just after arriving, I miraculously happened on (a one in two million chance), an old acquaintance which I had not seen in ages : a former Québec resident who had immigrated there, recognized me in the street, and invited me to his home, with his Cuban family.

This was the starting point of my discovery of these kind people who live most of their life outside, for all to see, with no preoccupations, in their everyday actions, ordinary. A homemade kind of life, which has been created with what was available. A life which vibrates in flexibility amongst the ravaged terrain and ambient humidity. A life nestled in the ruins of what were once magnificent palaces, mansions, temples…

Those were magical days, during which I had done a lot of walking, as everyone does, under the sun, and where I rested in the shade, with everyone else.

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