Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art Lens First Impressions

I’ve never owned such a wide lens before but when I upgraded my Canon gear from the 5dmk3 to the 5dmk4 and 5ds my trusty L series17-40 f4 was suddenly no longer sharp enough for the results I needed for myself and my customers.

I have not bought anything other the canon L series lenses for many years now. Sometimes I’ve opted for the slower lenses due to weight as I travel extensively on Film and Photography assignments. Weight is a major factor for me and heavy fast lenses in my experience are back breakers.

So I weighed up the Sigma 12-24 f4 Art Lens (1151g ) against the Canon L series 11-24 f4 (1180g .) Both are very heavy!

There weren’t many informative comparisons online and I couldn’t gauge the performance of the Sigma especially on the 50mp 5ds but I’ve been hearing rave reviews of Sigma’s art series lenses. Many of my peers have been raving about them for a while. Mainly Dean Tirkot, Marco Bok and Derek Henderson.

I havn’t read a single bad review of the Canon L series 11-24 f4 but it’s really heavy, really big and really expensive. The front element is a very impressive piece of glass that reminds me of a Zeiss 40mm distagon front element from the Hasselblad days. Also $4000 is a bit pricey in the current economic climate for 1 piece of equipment in a world where you need many and varied pieces of equipment.

Yesterday, at half the price of the Canon I took delivery of my first Sigma Art series lens and today I took a few pics with it. I took my 5dmk4  which I prefer using  to the 5ds. Lets have a look at the pics and see how the lens performed under different conditions and on different settings.

I won’t do any profile corrections in Lightroom. So here we go!



Photo paulegreen 8914.jpg

is of Australian artist Ken Unsworth’s sculpture “Stones against the Sky’ located between Darlinghurst and Kings Cross in Sydney. The picture was slightly backlit but there is plenty of detail in the shadows and highlights. The photo appears very sharp.

Settings were ISO 100 12mm f7.1 1/800 sec


Photo: paulegreen8918.jpg

is The wall of the Darlinghurst Fire Station. It’s a good subject to test a wide angle lens. There is a very slight loss of sharpness but it was shot at f4.


Settings were ISO 250 12mm f4 1/80 sec


Photo paulegreen8927.jpg is on the escalator at Kings Cross Station. Again I shot wide open to test distortions on the edges of the lens. I’m happy with the way this image resolved even though there is a bit of blur due to slow shutter speed.

Settings were ISO 400 12mm f4 1/25 sec


Photo: paulegreen8930.jpg

This is another test like that of the fire station wall. Again I’m very happy with the corner sharpness and the barrel distortion is acceptable for such a wide lens. I have Canon L series lenses with significantly more barrel distortion than this. It is easily corrected. Also the shutter speed is very slow for a handheld photo.

Settings were ISO 500 12mm f4 1/13 sec


Photo:paulegreen 9836

is of a row of Victorian Houses in Darlighurst at night. It’s a seriously wide angle view that I would never have previously been able to achieve.

Settings ISO 5000 12mm f4 1/30 sec


Photo:paulegreen 8941.jpg

is a shadow of a tree against a painted wall illuminated by street lights. I can’t fault the lens sharpness in the corners.or the even coverage of light on the 5dmk4 sensor.

Settings were ISO 5000 17mm f4 1/30 sec

I did find a pretty good technical review after I finished writing this blog at

On first impressions the Sigma 12-24mm f4 Art lens is astounding. I’m really excited with the possibilities the this lens will add to my photography and film making.


Happy image making!





The Bra, Maroubra, January 2016

Mahon Pool Maroubra
Mahon Pool Maroubra

Mahon Pool at the Northern end of Maroubra on Australia Day 2016I like to multitask! Dog walking and photography are a great fit so when a dog/house sitting gig came up in the Bra, a quirky beachside suburb in the South/East of Sydney in Summer I was very excited.

 (Paul Evan Green)
Morning Walk on Marine Pde, Maroubra

The natural environment is absolutely stunning. The long days of a Sydney summer offers time and space for socializing, walking, swimming, surfing, cafe hopping and one of my very favorite activities as a photographer, storm chasing.

 (Paul Evan Green)
Thunder Storm over Bondi  Beach in the distance from Mistral Point, Maroubra

Maroubra in the local Aboriginal language means “Place of Thunder.” During my stay here I have seen many storms and have had the opportunity to photograph, film and record the sound of these impressive natural displays of awe.

 (Paul Evan Green)
Storm Brewing over Maroubra Bay

Maroubra  is a vibrant and harmonious multicultural community in a coastal setting. There are a large number of  families with young children in the area with  many sporting clubs and  facilities available.

 (Paul Evan Green)
Skatepark, Maroubra
 (Paul Evan Green)
Front Door Step, Maroubra

The surf culture at Maroubra feels like it hasn’t changed much since the  1970’s.  There have been many great surfers from Maroubra. The greatest in my opinion is Larry Blair who won the Pipeline Masters contest in 1978 and 1979. Mark Matthews is currently one of the most fearless and excellent big wave riders in the world.

 (Paul Evan Green)
A grom finds a nice section at Nth Maroubra
 (Paul Evan Green)
The North end of Maroubra Beach
 (Paul Evan Green)
Lurline Bay at the Northern End of Maroubra

Different ethnic groups have contributed a dazzling array of architectural styles. Whether this strange fusion has any architectural merit will be for history to judge.

 (Paul Evan Green)
Contrasting architectural styles, Maroubra


 (Paul Evan Green)
Original beachside architecture, Maroubra
 (Paul Evan Green)
Original beachside architecture, Maroubra
 (Paul Evan Green)
Original beachside architecture
 (Paul Evan Green)

Heldenplatz (Heros’ Square) Vienna

"Heldenplatz." What can you say about this place? Thomas Bernhard who was an Austrian novelist, playwright and poet probably illustrated it best with his play "Heldenplatz (Heroes' Square). This play was commissioned by the then director of the Vienna Burgtheater Claus Peymann for the 100th anniversary of the theater and it sparked a huge scandal when it was performed. Certainly it started a very uncomfortable internal debate in Austria on the 50th anniversary of Hitler's triumphal arrival in Vienna. It was here in Heldenplatz where Hitler ranted before 250,000 wildly cheering Viennese. (Paul Evan Green)

“Heldenplatz.” What can you say about this place?

Thomas Bernhard who was an Austrian novelist, playwright and poet probably illustrated it best with his play “Heldenplatz (Heros’ Square). This play was commissioned by the then director of the Vienna Burgtheater, Claus Peymann for the 100th anniversary of the theater and it sparked a huge scandal when it was performed.

Certainly it started a very uncomfortable internal debate in Austria on the 50th anniversary of Hitler’s triumphal arrival in Vienna.

 (Paul Evan Green)

Many important actions and events took place here, most notably Adolf Hitler’s ceremonial announcement of the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany on 15 March 1938 to the rapturous applause of  250,000 wildly cheering Viennese.

Photos entered in Head on Photo Festival by Paul Green. These are a selection of images entered to the Landscape and Portrait Prizes between 2012 and 2015. It's a serious investment to have your work appraised (or more often not appraised) by the esteemed judges. This year I was accepted as a finalist in the Portrait Prize for the first time with a photo I took almost 20 years ago of my friend Madame Lash. It makes me wonder WTF I've been doing photographing religiously every day for the last 30 years. To continue or not to continue? (Paul Evan Green)

Heldenplatz,Thomas Bernhard Heldenplatz,hitler,nazism,austria,©paulegreen, historical themes, jewish themes,, signage, street collage series, street photography, travel photography, ©paulegreen (Paul Evan Green)

Please see my very personal view of Vienna in  my small photo book

Leonard Cohen in Poland May 2014

I'm your Man the Life of Leonard Cohen
I’m your Man the Life of Leonard Cohen

I’ve just returned from a trip to Poland where I was working on a documentary film about a young couple getting married. He is a Fijian Indian Hindu and she a Polish Catholic.

It was a relief for me to be working in Poland about a theme unrelated to the decimated Polish Jewish community and its culture that had been my focus on previous trips.

In Sydney over the summer, I had bumped into my friend Rita who worked in Martin Smith’s bookshop in Bondi years ago. Rita is also from a Polish, Jewish background and had recently visited her hometown. She was working in Oscar and Friends bookshop in Double Bay when I went in to pick up the book I had ordered.

I had ordered Murray Bails’ book “The Voyage”. Bail’s is a book about an Australian who goes to Vienna to sell his revolutionary new concert grand piano. The story is loosely based on the Stuart Concert Grand Piano from Australia. It was a good read and I empathised a lot with the central character who like me didn’t speak German and had problems being taken seriously in the old establishment of Vienna, a major centre of music, art and culture.

During our long conversation, interrupted many times by people buying books I kept going back to the shelves and picked out a biography of Leonard Cohen, by Sylvie Simmons.  I wasn’t sure about the choice but Rita said she’d heard it was a good one and I took her word.

Last year in the late summer I had been in Poland and had wanted to see Leonard Cohen perform in Lodz but it never materialized.

Lodz is the town of my paternal grandmother’s family and once had a very large Jewish community.

I had seen his Sydney concert a few years ago and I knew his music and a bit of trivia about him but I took this biography with me on the long train journey from Vienna to Katowice and then to Lubliniec and was making very good progress and enjoying finding out more about the life and career of this great artist and poet.

The sister in law of the bride turned out to be a big Leonard Cohen fan and had been to the concert I hadn’t been to but it surprised me that Leonard Cohen could be so popular in Poland.

It turns out that there is a Polish comedian, writer and radio personality called Maciej Zembaty who had translated and performed over 60 Leonard Cohen songs since the 1970’s.  Zembaty had been imprisoned by the regime in 1981 for organising a festival of songs on the regime’s banned list.

Zembaty’s Polish version of Cohen’s Partisan Song had become the unofficial anthem of the Solidarity movement.

I’ve included some links to Leonard Cohen documentaries online.



Paul Green +43 676 942 2558


A Week, Tuesday to Tuesday in Lubliniec Poland.

It’s springtime. I’m in a rural area of Silesia about 60km from Katowice. This is one place where English doesn’t work but people do try to speak to me in German once they realise I can’t speak Polish. You can see more of my work at


I’m here making a documentary about a young couple who met and now live together in Sydney. Karina and Sachin are getting married on Saturday in Karina’s nearby home town called Kalety. The doco is about the joining of a Fijian, Indian, Hindu family and a Polish Catholic family.

The project was dreamed up and is being produced and directed by my friend Chris Cole who has an architecture practice in Fiji and who knows Sachin’s family.

Chris worked as a cameraman back in the pre digital days of film. It has been a great experience working with him and learning a different approach from someone who has ducked the digital revolution and hasn’t worked in the industry for many years.

This week has been very important for Polish people. Their beloved Pope, Karol Józef Wojtyła, or Pope John Paul II was canonized by the Vatican as a saint by Pope Francis.


Pope John Paul II is recognised as helping to end Communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Anglican community and the  Eastern Orthodox Church.

Another Polish saint who is celebrated in Lubliniec and who was canonized by Pope John Paul II is Edyta Stein. Also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edyta Stein was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to the Roman Catholic Church and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She is a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church and one of the six patron saints of Europe.

In 1938 she and her sister Rosa, were sent to a Carmelite monastery in the Netherlands for their safety. They were arrested by the Nazis on 2 August 1942 and sent to Auschwitz where they were gassed on 9 August 1942.

Although Edyta was born in Breslau (now Wroclaw) in 1891 she spent much of her childhood in Lubliniec as it was the hometown of her grandparents.

I visited the Lubliniec Jewish cemetery yesterday. Originally the cemetery was divided into three plots: for men, women, and children. In all, 1,117 people were buried there.


The Nazis devastated the cemetery during World War II and used the gravestones to pave the road from Lubliniec to Żuków. In 1958 the Polish national authorities took over the cemetery and  opened a driver training centre on the site. Fragments of gravestones were piled up in a few heaps.

Among those buried in the cemetery are the grandparents of Edyta Stein: Adelajda Courant and Salomon Courant  as well as Edyta’s elder brothers: Emst and Richard.


The Bondi Gate Keeper, Michael Sweet

Portrait Photo of Michael Sweet Bondi 1/14 (Paul Evan Green +61412189771)

Michael Sweet is the Gate Keeper of Bondi. Year in and year out, day or night, Summer or Winter, he is stationed at one of two places along O’Brien Street. He is the first person we all see as we drive into Bondi from Old South Head Road.

His father was Polish and his mother Hungarian. Dad was an academic and mum a music teacher. His parents emmigrated to Australia after the Second World War.

He is a friendly and happy soul who enjoys company and conversation.

When I asked him why he sat in those two places he answered that they were the places he felt most safe.

Portrait Photo of Michael Sweet Bondi 1/14 (Paul Evan Green +61412189771

Selected  photos can be viewed or purchased from my website at

Artist in 2 of her 3 personae. Meet Gretel Pinniger and her Alter Ego Madam Lash.

I’ve known Gretel Pinniger for many years. These are 2 portraits I took of her one night at Florida House, Palm Beach in 1996.

Gretel Pinniger is a Sydney eccentric Artist. She grew up as a shy child who had been educated by nuns and almost became one herself. She is also know as Madame Lash, a stage name she invented while working as a stripper at the Paradise Club in Sydney's Kings Cross while studying fashion design during the 1970's. She became interested in S&M and worked as a dominatrix in the basement of her home in Forbes St Darlinghurst. Later she had the first shop in Sydney to supply and design high fashion leather bondage gear. She has a love for Opera and in particular the music of Richard Wagner. she now paints 4 dimensional holograms in oil paint. (Paul Evan Green)

The first is Gretel as Gretel and the second is her alter ego Madam Lash.

Gretel Pinniger is a Sydney eccentric Artist. She grew up as a shy child who had been educated by nuns and almost became one herself. She is also know as Madame Lash, a stage name she invented while working as a stripper at the Paradise Club in Sydney's Kings Cross while studying fashion design during the 1970's. She became interested in S&M and worked as a dominatrix in the basement of her home in Forbes St Darlinghurst. Later she had the first shop in Sydney to supply and design high fashion leather bondage gear. She has a love for Opera and in particular the music of Richard Wagner. she now paints 4 dimensional holograms in oil paint. (Paul Evan Green)

Gretel’s manifesto on Art will give you more of an idea about who she is:

Manifesto on Art

I believe that True Art comes only from the highest impulse within ourselves, which we must seek and find by a process involving Faith, Focus, Discipline and constant Practise. For me this is so exhilarating, blissful and such Fun, my dedicated wish is to share my views with as many people as possible.

I look to the example of the Greatest Masters of Art and Music to find what I seek to bring to the practise of Art. In company with them, I am concerned with only the most exalted subjects – Religious and Spiritual themes and Portraits of only the most highly vibrational individuals, usually themselves Musicians and Artists of all kinds and other people I admire as being well advanced on the path to human enlightenment. I celebrate their art and personal qualities with my own abilities, in the belief that I will leave behind me each time, a work which will give pleasure to many generations through contemplating what I do. I hope that they may know this person or this state as I do, through my art. Therefore for me ‘art’ concerned with misery, squalor and inhumanity, or portraits of unenlightened people or losers, suicides or murderers are not for me.

Although I have been painting for over 25 years, with new focus in the last 3 years, I have so far, never sold and hardly ever parted with any of my paintings. They are painted from the pure delight of doing so, and my belief that, that painting should exist.

I intend my works to be placed only in major public places where they may live after me, eg. Opera Houses and Galleries. The others stay with me and are to be incorporated into my larger ‘Works in Progress’, ‘The Kirk’ Cleveland St, Surry Hills and ‘Florida House’ Florida Rd, Palm Beach, both of these being large old stone buildings, now being transformed into live in Art Works where I seek to attract under my roof the energies of any and all like minded Art and Fun-Lovers on the basis of “The better you look, the better I look, the better we’ll all look”.

Gretel Pinniger,
a.k.a. Malame Lash and now
The Immaculate Lash

These photos were taken with a Rolleicord Twin Lens  camera which had a 75mm Carl Zeiss f3.5 Tessar Lens. This camera was manufactured from 1933 till 1976.


The Tessar is a famous photographic lens design conceived by physicist Paul Rudolph in 1902 while he worked at the Zeiss optical company and patented by Zeiss; the lens type is usually known as the Zeiss Tessar.

A Tessar comprises four elements in three groups, one positive crown glass element at the front, one negative flint glass element at the center and a negative plano-concave flint glass element cemented with a positive convex crown glass element at the rear. He named the result “Tessar”, from the Greek word τέσσερα (téssera, four) to indicate a four-element design.

I bought this camera from Grace’s Camera Bargains in Victoria St Potts Point in Sydney in around 1993. I adapted it with a Prism Finder from a Mamiya c330 which was fun. I don’t know where the camera is now.

I used this camera for a number of other photos at that time including my “Bondi Rock” photowhere I painted the surface of the rock with light over a one hour exposure at night.

Bondi Rock,Sandstone,Photography of Bondi landscape by Paul Green,image Used as Ad for Kodak Tri-x film, Rolleicord camera (Paul Evan Green)

Selected  photos can be viewed or purchased from my website at

Approaching 25 years as a freelance photographer

Photography of Sydney by Paul Green, Anzac Day Parade George St Sydney,Black and White, Brass band and poster in background, (Paul Evan Green)

I’m not very good at maths so it took me a while to subtract 1989 from 2014. How things have changed in that time. My main camera through the 1990’s and turn of the century was the Sinar P. My kit consisted of 75mm Schneider Super Angulon, 90mm Schneider Angulon, 150mm Rodenstock, 240mm Rodenstock, and 480mm Apo Rodagon lenses, 6×9, 5×4 & 10×8 Backs. Price entry level for photography was a whole different ball game. There were long days and nights in the darkroom processing film and completing Black & White print orders as well as astronomical monthly lab bills. I always say that I bought Mr Kodak 3 houses but also 1 each for Messes Fuji, Agfa, Ilford and Polaroid. Back then my bread and butter was doing big jobs for Artists, Museums and private galleries. I still do this kind of work but the jobs and budgets have shrunk. Throughout the years I have never stopped doing my own photography. Some of my personal work can be seen on my website at

Travel, Vienna 2012_3 photos by ©paulegreen, architecture,, shop window, street collage series, street photography, ©paulegreenstreet collage, vienna (Paul Evan Green)

Recently exhibited images 12/13 ©paulegreen contact Bondi Beach Sydney, Zdunska Wola Poland, Vienna Austria,Late Autumn,Early Winter Vienna (Paul Evan Green)

I’ve been traveling and working in Europe for the last 15 months and recently returned to Sydney. During that time away I was concentrating on a number of commissioned jobs and exploring some personal themes. Initially I went to work with Australian Artist Mike Parr to document his large scale retrospective and new performance piece at the Kunsthalle in Vienna, Austria. I also completed a book of Art, Food, Culture, Agriculture and Archeology of the Roman region of Lunigiana  in North West Italy. This will be my 3rd book about this part of Italy. The first 2 were “Soffritto” & “Lucio’s Ligurian Kitchen” of which both  were very successful.

Italy, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art, seafood salad (Paul Evan Green)

Ciccio Cookbook Lunigiana Italy, Ristorante capannina ciccio, Liguria and Ristorante Ciccio Marina Tuscany, Owner Mario Guelfi. Fish and seafood restaurant, (Paul Evan Green)

Ciccio Cookbook Lunigiana Italy, Ristorante capannina ciccio, Liguria and Ristorante Ciccio Marina Tuscany, Owner Mario Guelfi. Fish and seafood restaurant, (Paul Evan Green)

Most interesting for me was the work I completed in my European Ancestral home of Poland. This is where my Hassidic Polish great grand parents lived and I was fortunate to visit their home towns. I photographed extensively and produced some very interesting and contemplative photographs on my first visit during the Winter of 2012.

Krakow Poland Main Square (Paul Evan Green)

Chevra Kadisha,Lodz Jewish Cemetery,Lodz Jewish Cemetery,Lodz,Poland Autumn-winter 2012,photography by Paul Green, ,Lodz Jewish Cemetery,radegast station,Lodz Ghetto,litzmannstadt Ghetto,Łódź,Holocaust,transport lists,nazi,communism (Paul Evan Green)

Lodz Ghetto Wall,Lodz,Poland Autumn-winter 2012,photography by Paul Green, ,Lodz Jewish Cemetery,radegast station,Lodz Ghetto,litzmannstadt Ghetto,Łódź,Holocaust,transport lists,nazi,communism (Paul Evan Green)

Lodz Jewish Cemetery,Poland Autumn-winter 2012,photography by Paul Green, ,Lodz Jewish Cemetery,radegast station,Lodz Ghetto,litzmannstadt Ghetto,Łódź,Holocaust,transport lists,nazi,communism (Paul Evan Green)

In the Summer of 2013 I returned to Poland to collaborate With Judy Menczel & Fay Sussman on a documentary film about contemporary Polish/Jewish relations, Klezmer Music, & Yiddish language. The film has full tax deductability status and we are looking for financial support for this very interesting and important doco.

Throughout the time in Europe my home was in Wien or Vienna. Vienna is a quiet and small city with a long and multi faceted history. I find it  a wonderful canvas for street photography and I love certain aspects of the cultural life and food there. Mostly I am able to get work on large projects done there. I find it very easy to focus on a task  and not be distracted. I am returning with some very interesting ideas for photography and a new body of work.

jewish themes,,, restitution, street collage series, street photography, travel photography, ©paulegreen (Paul Evan Green)

Die Angewandte, angels, grafitti, jewish themes,,, plakatiren verboten, shop window, signage, street collage series, street photography, travel photography, tree, ©paulegreen (Paul Evan Green)

Since returning to Australia I have been working on editing the Poland film,  documentation of a Kaldor Public Art Project with Slovenian artist Roman Ondak, and my continued involvement with Artists Mike Parr and Ken Unsworth.

Australian Artist,Ken Unsworth AM,Photo,Paul Green,Performance Art,Painting, Sculpture,Venice Biennale,Sydney,Melbourne,Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, National Gallery of Australia,"A Ringing Glass (Rilke) An Event to Honour Elisabeth Unsworth,Toy pianos, music, Art,Toyland fever (Paul Evan Green)

The first thing I did on my return was to go to my storeroom and get out my Hasselblad camera. I’ve been using this camera almost exclusively for all my personal photography in Sydney over the past 3 years or so. I’ve been getting through roll after roll of 120 Black & White  film. I’m looking forward to a big scanning session at Silverpixel studios. This camera and its Carl Zeiss lenses is the benchmark in German optics and will replace my canon 5dMk111 on my return to Europe.

I’ve been really fortunate to have done so much magazine work in Italy during 2013. I’ve teamed up with a wonderful journalista,Paola Ciana who has had many years of experience as fashion editor for big Italian women’s mags. She made the switch to writing and photographing beautiful houses. So far we’ve been published in magazines such as Velvet, Io Donna, La Repubblica, Marie Claire Maison and Elle Decor. This has been a wonderful learning experience and has given me access to some magnificent Italian homes and interesting people. Also it has had a slightly demystifying effect for me on the Women’s Magazine market.

Italy, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art (Paul Evan Green)

Italy, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art (Paul Evan Green)

Italy, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art (Paul Evan Green)

Italy, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art (Paul Evan Green)

Italy, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art (Paul Evan Green)

Italy, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art (Paul Evan Green)

Art Studio Switzerland, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art (Paul Evan Green)

Switzerland, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art,Art Studio Furniture (Paul Evan Green)

Chestnuts Switzerland, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art,Magazine story,Chestnuts Switzerland, Food, Travel, Architecture, Art, Contact Paola Ciana (Paul Evan Green)

So to my new business plan: I’ve set up my website as a resource library where interesting  images can be uploaded and sold either in print form or as a digital download.  I’m hoping to improve the SEO capabilities so I can make a significant number of sales through the site but hope that people will take a look if there’s a need for a gift or need to find images for magazine stories and books. I’m still available for freelance  photography, film and writing work and will be living between Europe and Australia in the foreseeable future. Every blog or business advice I’ve read about the pursuit of a fulfilling and successful career in photography recommends that you follow your own interests and speak with your own voice. This I have always done and continue to do. Photography is a tough gig and there is no job like it when it comes to great rewards of time spent.

Please take a few moments to look at some of the photos from my website…………




Thoughts & Photos from Havana Cuba October 2017

 (paul evan green)
View over Central Havana to Vedado

Havana is a great place for me to do things like this writing blogs and working on the huge backlogue of video editing I’ve created for myself. Having a Cuban girlfriend brings me close to Cuban people and I’m very interested in their lives which are very different and difficult. The news that the U.S is  discouraging  tourism and is scaling down  its embassy staff  in Havana by 60% will have a huge impact on the ordinary Cuban who in most cases lives way below any poverty line we know of in the rest of the world.

 (paul evan green)
Old American Car on the Malecon after Hurricane Irma

Despite this poverty imposed from above and outside Cubans remain proud, creative, resourceful and hopeful that things will improve. President Raul Castro stands down in February 2018. Next month there will be municipal elections to select candidates who will decide on the new President.  Cubans are hopeful for positive change bringing modernisation, more efficiency and opportunity.

 (paul evan green)
Children’s Art Class  in Prado, Central Havana

I have avoided walking the streets with a camera on the last few visits to Cuba. I see many street photographers walking around with their Leicas and various other symbols of photo artistrty all trying to create cliches of cliches and I guess I’m guilty of it as well. It is hard to avoid cliches here.

 (paul evan green)
Graffiti after President Obama’s visit to Cuba

My first visit to Cuba was shortly after Obama’s. There was a big improvement in the relationship which also trickled down to the average Cuban. Without giving it much thought Donald Trump has pledged to be a wrecking ball for any of the good things that came out of the Obama administration.

 (paul evan green)
Graffiti of Donald Trump in Havana

The average salary for a Cuban is around U.S $30/month.  One hotel worker I spoke to told me how he went twice to the U.S embassy to apply for a visa to visit family at a cost of U.S $160/application only to be refused in less than 5 minutes each time. That’s more than 10 months salary gone in 10 minutes.


 (paul evan green)
Shop in a doorway in Central Havana

Now there is a fear campaign because of the Sonic attacks on U.S diplomatic staff both in the embassy in Havana and in a hotel run by the Cuban military. I don’t believe the Cubans are capable or responsible for this kind of attack nor would it be in their interests to deliberately damage their relationship with the U.S.

 (paul evan green)
Old Street Musician

Havana has some beautiful old buildings and many are being restored. Others are crumbling around their inhabitants. There is money being made but the average person is poor. Supermarket shelves have very little to offer the customer and the basic diet is lacking in variety. Government controlled internet is of very low quality at an exorbitant price.

 (paul evan green)
View over Central Havana and Vedado from Lincoln Hotel

My first Cuban blog

A reflection on my first three days in Cuba 12th, 13th,14th September 2017

I was supposed to arrive in Havana on the 9th September at 8pm but so did Hurricane Irma.  After 2 days in Zurich waiting for a flight I was transferred to Frankfurt where I waited to hear whether there would be a flight to Cuba that day but no.. the Cuban airports were closed. The biggest problem for the airlines was evacuating tourists from the resort area of Valadero which had been hit hard by Irma.

The near empty Condor flight from Frankfurt to Valadero and then Havana took off and a small group of Cuban and Italian passengers proceeded to get very very drunk, loud and boisterous, boasting and demonstrating  their portable sound systems.

The deal with this flight was that we passengers would get off the in Valadero to allow evacuated passengers to get on in Valadero and Havana . We would have to travel by collective car or taxi about 120km.

 (paul evan green)

Side elevation of Teatro Nacional from roof of Hotel Inglaterra

12th September

First problem: The luggage didn’t get taken off the flight in Valadero. We waited and waited and waited but due to inefficiencies by the airline and a very lazy and poor effort by airport staff it was explained to us that we could collect our luggage at terminal 3 in Havana the following day.

So passengers started congregating in the carpark of the Valadero airport trying to negotiate transport to Havana. By this time is was around 2am. A long queue for changing money also had to be waited out. There was no way any Cuban driver was going to accept Euros. Fares started to blow out from the normal amount of 80CUC to around 400CUC . Cuban taxi drivers are very good at assessment of supply and demand. Along with a European couple I negotiated a fare of 100CUC and the long dark night drive to Havana began.

 (paul evan green)

Yailin (Centre Performing with her group “Vocal Renacer”)

My main reason (my only reason) for coming to Cuba was to visit my girlfriend Yailin. We hadn’t seen each other for 3 months and I wanted to see her after all the delays. I had booked a hotel room in Old Havana from the 9th September to 14th September but it had remained empty until my arrival at 6 am in 13th September. I wanted a place to stay in the event that I arrived before the hurricane but also a safe place for Yalin and her mother to stay if something happened to their house in the hurricane.

 (paul evan green)

View from the roof of Hotel Raquel over Old Havana

Hotel Raquel in Old Havana is a beautiful old building and is a Jewish themed hotel. We stayed in the Abraham room number 101. There is a mezuzzah on each door and a small Judaica section in the lobby shop.

 (paul evan green)

Jacob Room Hotel Raquel

13th September

Having paid for 4 nights in Hotel Raquel for 2 people without being there I asked the reception if I could have breakfast. I had checked in a 6am and they said because I had checked in early that breakfast wasn’t available and I would have to pay extra.

In disgust I left the hotel to do get a decent breakfast at my favorite café in Old Havana, El Café.

From Parque central I went into battle to find a Taxi to drive me to the airport to retrieve my luggage. Once again the dutch auction system began. Starting at 60CUC I found a driver who was prepared to do the 2 way trip for 30CUC.

I found the lost luggage department at terminal 3 and proceeded to wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. The one commodity that has no value in Cuba is a person’s time. It seems the electricity and computer system were not working but eventually after about 3 hours I was able to look for my luggage. I looked everywhere but couldn’t find it. I was taken to a woman inside the airport who told me the flight hadn’t come to terminal 3 it had come to terminal 2.    So I went in my taxi to see if my luck would be better at terminal 2.

After a short time I found my luggage and returned to Raquel and to see Yailin for the first time in 3 months which was beautiful.

14th September

We arrived at our apartment in Central Havana. It’s a nice place in a street busy with human activity. There is an abattoir, many congregations of children playing, people of all ages sitting in the doorways passing that thing that has no value. I feel conspicuous when I walk around and even though I try to blend in Yailin tells me it is not possible. I am and will forever be a tourist in this place.

 (paul evan green)

I was walking around the city trying to find AAA batteries. I went to Obispo, San Rafael and Galliano Streets but didn’t have any luck. Things we take for granted are impossible to find here. The Cubans are creative, intelligent and imaginative in the way they deal with everyday obstacles. While looking at for batteries I met an American tourist named Bernardo. He was visiting from Pennsylvania with his daughter and spoke Spanish fluently.

He offered to buy me a coffee and asked if I knew of a good place. I took him to another favorite, Café Archangel in Concordia St. It was after I had finished my coffee that I realised I had been separated from my wallet. Welcome to Fucking Cuba!

Hotel Racquel is a nice building but never stay there especially if you don’t like cold showers and appalling food. If you would like to hear Yailin’s songs please check out the links below and like her fb page:

European Photography Summer 2017

European Photography by Paul Green. I started of in Budapest in the 3rd week of August to work on a family history project for a private client. Budapest is a city that I knew a bit about but always wanted a reason to visit. It’s a charming city with magnificent architecture. I enjoyed walking around in my spare time.

 (Paul Green)                                                                                                                                                          New York Cafe

 (Paul Green)

Four Seasons Hotel Lobby Gresham Palace

 (Paul Green)

(Detail) Memorial For Jews shot by Nazis on the bank of the Danube

Formula One came to town and that was my cue to leave.  I decided to have a look at some small towns in Poland and headed by bus to Katowice. I was interested in the Pre-war Jewish history and it’s always difficult to find any traces. I found the Jewish cemetery and a couple of monuments. There is still a very small community in the town.

 (Paul Green)

From Katowice I went to Zakopane in the south of Poland. Here I was interested in the architecture and the mountains. I started doing some timelapse sequences and did a lot of walking.

Timelapse combining sequences from Zakopane and Radomsko

Radomsko was the home town of my father’s grandparents although they didn’t ever talk about the place much. It was a major Hassidic centre in Poland. When my great grandparents lived there it was part of Russia. There are still a few old buildings there so i was trying to look at things they also would have seen. Trying to share experiences with them.                                                                                                        (Paul Green)

Beautiful windows in an old apartment building

 (Paul Green)                                                                                                                                                        Old Jewish owned building

 (Paul Green)

(Detail) Mass grave in Jewish Cemetery

My second job was in Zdunska Wola. This was a beautiful art project entitled “The missing mezzuzot of Zdunska Wola” by Estelle Rozinski. This was my 5th visit to Zdunska Wola and it was primarily a filming job. I took very few images for myself but I was struck by a stack of mazevot (Jewish Grave Stones) in the back yard of the museum. The Jewish cemetery in ZW is very beautiful partly due to the excellent stone masonery .

 (Paul Green)

Stack of Jewish Tomb Stones Zdunska Wola

After filming the 73rd anniversary commemoration of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto I arrived in Warsaw.

 (Paul Green)

Old Town Warsaw