A Cuban man sits behind a countertop with butchered meat on top and two water bottles hanging from the ceiling.

A Glimpse Inside Daily Life in Cuba

Photographs by Jermain Cikic

words by Mikel van den Boogaard

Photographer Jermain Cikic turns his lens on Cuba’s bustling cities and sprawling landscapes, reflecting the country’s resilience and resourcefulness in the face of financial crisis.

In Esperando, which means both waiting and anticipating, photographer Jermain Cikic focuses on the duality of Cuba—showing the contrasts between city and countryside as well as the differences between the popular perception of Cuba and the realities its inhabitants face. In his photography, the cities represent vibrant dynamism, the countryside embodies tradition, simplicity, and natural beauty, capturing both so as to shine a light on the struggle and spirit of the people of Cuba. Esperando encapsulates how Cubans navigate their lives through challenges and uncertainties while simultaneously reflecting their resilience and resourcefulness in the context of a deep financial crisis. 


The country has food shortages, growing inflation, and frequent power cuts, so while Western tourists feast on authentic cigars in classic old-timers, many locals line up in front of grocery stores hoping to buy essential food items. The inequalities and disparities in access to goods and services are vast, and many Cubans are left with low wages, limited access to basic necessities, and inadequate infrastructure.


By photographing their daily lives, Cikic hopes to amplify the voices of those who have been disadvantaged by colonial history as well as by war and natural disasters. Esperando is, in this sense, another way of showing how international powers can affect people on a local as much as on an individual scale. And how we all share a responsibility to take care of it.

A bare-chested man wears a large gold necklace.
The side of a building in Cuba is shown halfway in the shadows and halfway in the sun
The trunk of a bright red car is wide open on the side of a street in Cuba.
A couple of young boys sit on a stoop while looking over at a man and his dog.
A Cuban person dressed in a red shirt, navy jacket, and jeans poses in the middle of the street while carrying a knap sack over their shoulder.
Two Cuban men converse while moving a large pink and red mattress through the streets of Cuba.
A large green bush sits in the middle of the grasslands of Cuba.
Several people mingle in a downtown area of Cuba.
A man helps an older woman cross the street in Cuba as a yellow taxi van rides by.
An older person's hand holds a 20 dollar Cuban bill.
A young boy wearing a bright green shirt, shorts, and sandals stands in the middle of the sidewalk in Cuba.
A pair of feet wearing large black boots is covered in half sunlight half shadows on the sidewalk.
A young Cuban person poses in front of a blue wall. They are wearing a dark blue hoodie and a bag across their chest.
Several people watch a soccer game outside from the other side of a fence.
A young boy wearing a red cap and a red plaid shirt sits on top of a white horse while looking down toward the camera.
Two black spade symbols are carved along a wall ion Cuba.
A wooden house leans slightly to the left in a field in Cuba.
Two men and a small child are in the backyard of a Cuban home.
The profile of a man who is standing in the deserts of Cuba.
Several people stand on the corner sidewalk of a Cuban city/
Two young Cuban boys stand in front of a green painted wall. One of them points toward the left.

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