Miami can be the background of the rich and famous in the news and the movies, but the Magic City is also a place where all kind of different communities melt, live, and prosper. Among them, the first Cuban generation of exiles arrived in the area of Little Havana after the Cuban revolution that took place in 1959. In this and future posts in the PORTRAIT category , I will go deep documenting this transitional group, the pioneers that set the course for others who arrived later on. I will do it one Cuban American at the time.
“I was born in Santiago de Cuba and I came into this country in 1967 and from there I always lived in Miami.” – Ma. Isabel Lago-Isbell.
“When I arrived I made all the jobs that I could do because my English was bad. Now it is not so good but I try”.Her English was good enough to make a good salary as an engineer assistant and technical draftsman for a safety equipment factory. There she met the one who would be her husband, the Air Force veteran, Ellis “John” Isbell. “I was married to John in 1978 and from that time we are living in this house. John likes hunting and he likes firearms. He prefers the snow and the mountains, but we are very happy in Miami”
Sadly John passed away sometime after this portrait session. “Now I’m retired, Maria Isabel says. “I collect paintings and every time I have a chance I get a new one”. She never returned to her birthplace.
How I worked
As in the previous portrait of the series, I did her portrait with the medium format Mamiya 645 in a tripod using only window light. At the same time, I have