The Passenger.


   © Photos and Text: Nicolas Pascarel

In 1996 I was young and Europe was already boring so I decided to go there, see what was happening, I felt that I could live somehow. To live what, I didn’t know it, but it was my idea: to change. Change myself.

I got it all there, behind the ocean and it was like a stopped image, like when you hit the pause button, a stop in time. That’s what made me think and strangely that’s what made me move forward. I felt how to say “new”. People walk, eat, work, take the bus, have fun and cry but all in slow motion, as in a bolero, as if the future did not exist. The opposite of what I saw in Europe where people think only of the future, their own future: if they will live better tomorrow, a better love, a better house, a better car, a better holiday, a life longer, a better job... I never thought about the future and even less about all these things, this does not interest me, I live and I can’t stop. When I stop, everything will be over. Definitely. So I wanted to escape from all this. And I left without thinking too much.

In Havana I felt the non future as a film that does not unfold at the right speed, in slow mode. This changed my view of the world, my way of photographing, of watching. It was a turning point for me. Strangely, I felt myself living, really living for the first time, completely free. It may seem absurd given the political system in place but I felt a freedom that I did not know before, far from everything and everyone. I loved.

And then the years passed and I continued this love story between me and the city, slowly, in its own way. When I did my second exhibition at the Fototeca de Cuba in 2001, it was perhaps a way to finish, to say aloud; I saw, I lived and here is the result. I thought I was done with Havana forever. The end point to my evolution not to say revolution. Between 1996 and 2001 a lot of things had changed in me, both professionally and personally, and I thought that never again would I come back, that it was definitely over. I was wrong. I took 10 years to come back, like that, without thinking too much.

It made me strange. Everything had remained almost the same and I was advancing without receding in age, in time. The return was very hard, brutal, sometimes boring, not to say disappointing. And then there were other trips that followed, always with a kind of uneasiness. I could not get into the city, I saw my beautiful and it did not make me any more effect, I did not want it anymore but I still loved it. These are things that happen with love. Terrible things. Yes really terrible.

And then there was the light. Some call it mature, but I don’t like that word. For me everything is love and again I loved, desired. Yes like that on the first night of November 2012. I felt immediately out of the plane, my heart and my mind reconnect with my almost eternal love. It was magical just like the daylight that enters the room in the early morning. When I arrived, I felt the desire again, the desire to live, to tell with my tool which is the photo. So I started The Passenger.

The passenger was obvious not to say a deliverance. The passenger tells all that I always wanted to tell, that is to say not much, it tells the whirlwind of my life and it’s not an easy task! All at last in the same story. It seemed to me necessary to eliminate in my photos and for the first time, the people, the portraits, the ambiances of streets... me who loves so much Humanity but this was necessary for my transformation. This is the job that most resembles what I am today, the most successful in my life as a photographer.

The images sometimes break the wind, they caress it to break it forever, all in the light of the sunset, between dog and wolf at the very moment where the storm that haunts my nights is constantly being mixed up. Nights of love and accursed nights, alone.