Elyanis – Jenny Hviding

I met this woman, Elyanis, in Habana, Cuba, during the time I lived there. This is the result of our collaboration. All images were shot analog and with different cameras that I brought with me. The images of Elyanis are from Habana, and the other part of the diptychs are taken in various cities all over Cuba.


Elyanis told me about her life and dreams, leaving me not only reflecting upon something that simply underlined my privileged situation; being a white woman travelling all over the world, alone at that. It left me ponder over the situation especially some women in Cuba face. Fidel Castro told his nation and the world that racism were abolished, that everyone Cuban are equal. Well in theory this is quite true, but in reality something really different…

Hoping to find an agency that could give her what she deserved, she often experienced racism and segregation. Elyanis explained how the system of having the more light skinned models getting all the jobs; her still being on “the bottom” of the list of choice. Even with her charming personality, karisma, willpower and presence in front of the camera, people still could not see her for anything else than her skin colour. She had an part time job at the time i met her, with most of the money going to help out the rest of her family. Not having an computer, nor a working email address; I have not been able to show her these images. Going back to Cuba soon, I hope to find her in Habana and show her these.

Photography and words by Jenny Hiding / IG