Halton Mill photo exhibition captures street life in Cuba

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Lancaster resident and keen street photographer, Mandy Blackwell, wanted to visit Cuba for many years.

In May she travelled there with her son Ben and was entranced by the colourful everyday life on the streets, where the long-running US embargo has trapped the country in time. She recorded the people she met and sights she saw in a series of striking photographs, which are the centrepiece of a new local exhibition.

Mandy said: “Cuba is like nowhere else you have every travelled to. It feels like a special cocktail. It has a rich body of the Caribbean with a dash of South America and a splash of Latin America, with the 1950’s American cars representing the slice of lime perched raunchily on the top.“The country has been largely untouched by the Western world so you won’t find a Costa double mochochino here or any other shop you would normally see. This is faded Spanish colonial grandeur mixed with lots of rum cocktails which you have with lunch and dinner. Older people confidently walk down the street smoking very fat cigars and the atmosphere is relaxed, informal and always friendly.”

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Mandy has brought together a selection of her street photos, along with some famous Cuban products to smell, and recordings of street sounds, to create an immersive exhibition. It’s showing all summer at Halton Mill, where Mandy runs her recruitment business, Mandy Blackwell Recruitment.

The exhibition is free and runs until the end of August. You’ll find it on the mezzanine, above the atrium at Halton Mill, which is open most days between 9am and 7pm.