black and white street photography by Bela Doka in Cuba during the Periodo Especial, in Havana 1994 1998

El Periodo Especial A photography project by Bela Doka

Hungarian photographer Bela Doka captured the street life of Cuba during the so called “Periodo Especial”.

Bela Doka lived in Havana from 1994 and 1998. As a direct witness of the economic depression at it’s most severe, he extensively photographed Havana, Cuba and it’s people. Drawing the intimate portrait of a Cuban society in crisis. At a time when hopes, resourcefulness and dreams met reality.

The Special Period in Time of Peace (“Período especial”) in Cuba was a euphemism for an extended period of economic crisis that began in 1989 mostly due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Primarily defined by the severe shortages of energetic resources such as gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum, the economic crisis of the Special Period was at its most severe in the early to mid-1990s. The country lost approximately 80% of its imports/exports and its Gross Domestic Product dropped by 34%. Food and medecine imports stopped or severely slowed.

The period radically transformed the Cuban society and its economy, as it decreased use of cars, and overhauled industry, health, and diet countrywide. A time during which most people were forced to live without the many goods they had become used to.

– Discover more of Bela’s work here: Bela Doka

Monthly Photo Contest

color portrait of an elderly woman by Can Sever
© Can Sever

2022 Visual Storytelling AWARD Deadline: 31 January 2022

The art of visual storytelling encompasses a wide range of possibilities with at its heart, the will to tell a story.

From classic social documentary to imaginative storytelling: this month we are seeking visual artists aiming to captivate; unique voices willing to share their stories with conviction and awareness.⁠

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