TIME photo essay

Witness Cuba’s Evolution in 39 Photos

After half a century of isolation from the Western world, Cubans are finding that change brings both hope and anxiety

“For centuries, Cuba’s greatest resource has been its people,” writes Pico Iyer in an extended essay on the Caribbean nation in the July 8, 2013 issue of TIME. In the twilight of the Castro era, Cubans are finding that change brings both hope and anxiety.

To pair with Iyer’s tome, TIME called upon Danish photographer Joakim Eskildsen. Eskildsen, who previously photographed a large portfolio for TIME on the state of poverty in America, traveled to Cuba for ten days, photographing urban housing projects in Havana and rural settlements across the countryside. With the help of local journalist Abel Gonzalez Alayon, Eskildsen photographed tobacco plantations, roadside fruit vendors, migrant workers and beachfront resorts — capturing all in the vibrant saturation of medium-format color film.

“I immediately fell in awe with the complexity of this country,” says Eskildsen. “The more you learn about the situation and how people are living, the more difficult it becomes to understand. It was like learning to view the world from a Cuban angle that kept surprising and inspiring me.”

To read Pico Iyer’s extended essay on Cuba, subscribe here. Already a subscriber? Click here.


Joakim Eskildsen is a Danish photographer based in Berlin. LightBox previously featured Eskildsen’s Home Works and Below the Line: Portraits of American Poverty.

Abel Gonzalez Alayon is a journalist based in Cuba. Follow him on Twitter @abelcuba

TIME portfolio

TIME Picks the Top 100 Photos of 2014

TIME's photo editors present an unranked selection of the best 100 images of the year

2014 was heart wrenching year that brought with it a litany of terror, turbulence and tragedy — from the escalating conflict in Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists to an reignited war in Gaza that led to the death of more than 2000 Palestinians and 73 Israelis; and from Ebola’s deadly outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone t0 the renewed debate about race in America after the killing of unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Gardner.

On a lighter note, though, 2014 also saw New York bid farewell to Yankees captain Derek Jeter who signed off with a walk-off hit, and Germany’s footballers won the FIFA World Cup by famously beating hosts Brazil 7-1 in a one-sided semi-final and defeating Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the final.

TIME’s photo editors present an unranked selection of the best 100 images of the year.

Read next: The Most Surprising Photos of 2014

TIME Research

30 Images Of Life Under A Microscope

Some of the world’s most stunning beauties can’t be seen with the naked eye.
Every year, scientists and microscope devotees submit their images and movies of life science objects shot under a microscope to the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition. Artists from 70 countries send in about 2,500 images to the competition every year to be judged by a panel of experts in the field. Here are this year’s honorees.
TIME World

Exclusive: 29 Instagrams That Defined the World in 2014

See some of the most powerful images shared on Instagram this year

As Instagram hit a milestone this month, with its number of monthly active users ballooning to 300 million, TIME, in association with the photo-sharing app, takes a look back at the key moments of 2014.

The selection of images, shared by some of Instagram’s most popular and respected photographers, offers an intimate view of some of the defining events of the year: From the toll of war in Gaza to the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and from the border between Mexico and the U.S. all the way to Mongolia, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone.

“Real moments are captured and posted on Instagram every single day, from Nana Kofi Acquah’s image of a Tanzanian doctor timing a baby’s labored breathing using his mobile phone, to Brendan Hoffman’s haunting first reactions upon arriving at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine,” says Pamela Chen, Instagram’s Editorial Director. “These are just a sampling of the powerful images shared by people around the world in 2014.”

Read next: The Top 10 Photos of 2014

TIME portfolio

The Most Surprising Photos of 2014

TIME's photo editors present a selection of underreported, improbable and astounding images from 2014

While the culture of social media did its best to ensure that 2014 had its fair share of entertaining, captivating and, above all, shareable photo moments, ultimately the past 12 months included as many genuinely shocking as surprising pictures. The year left us in varying states of outrage, bewilderment, bemusement and astonishment.

But there were some wonderfully unexpected and unusual images—from Darth Vader on the campaign trail in Ukraine and the Pope with a lamb around his neck, to pole dancing robots and a giant hippo in London’s Thames river—that delighted, enthralled and distracted us. Here, TIME looks back over the past 12 months and presents a selection of underreported, improbable and astounding images that caught the attention of TIME’s photo editors—and which, we trust, maintain their ability to utterly, thoroughly surprise.

Read next: TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2014

TIME astronomy

Snapshots of the Heavens: Amazing Astronomy Photos

The Royal Observatory culled through over 800 entries from astronomers and astro-photographers around the world to release its compilation of the best astronomy photos of 2012. Astronomy Photographer of the Year is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Sky at Night Magazine. The competition drew a wide array of subjects captured by amateur and professional photographers from around the globe.

The Royal Observatory has culled through over 800 entries from astronomers and astro-photographers around the world to release its compilation of the best astronomy photos of 2012. The contest is run by Royal Observatory Greenwich and Sky at Night Magazine.

Should you have plans to be in London, an exhibition featuring the work is on display at the Royal Observatory Greenwich Planetarium throughout October 2012 in “The Universe Exposed: photographing the cosmos.”

TIME

See Haunting Photos of NYPD Surveillance Helicopters Above the Eric Garner Protests

Police presence is evident in the air, as well as on the ground

On Thursday, photographer Kevin Kunstadt joined the New York City protests against the grand jury decision not to charge a white NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner.

While most photographers focused their lenses on the protesters themselves, Kunstadt turned his towards the sky. He used his experience photographing airplane trails, using 20-30 second exposures, to capture the abundance of police and news helicopters above the protests — illuminating the constant surveillance.

“There was a sense of almost joyous rebellion,” Kunstadt tells TIME, “and irreverence for authority, police, and the status quo. I didn’t feel the same sadness as last week’s protests [for Michael Brown], but it was still quite emotional and beautiful to see everyone coming together.”

Protests against the police killings of Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. continue throughout the country. Kunstadt understands that the act of protesting often requires a police presence, but he finds “something especially ominous” about the aerial surveillance.

“Nevertheless,” he says, “there is an inherent power in turning the gaze of the surveiller back on them, enacting surveillance of the surveillance.”

TIME technology

No, Facebook Is Not Planning to Sell Your Images

Facebook Privacy Policy
In this Wednesday, June 11, 2014 photo, a man walks past a sign in an office on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif. Jeff Chiu—AP

Photographers -- amateurs and professionals alike -- are concerned about a notice of Facebook's supposed privacy changes

After Facebook publicized its intentions to simplify its privacy policy starting in January, a growing number of users have opposed the changes by sharing a private note on their accounts that purports to protect their ownership of their information and photographs.

The notice, which has been circulating for more than two years, typically reads: “On this date, in response to new guidelines on Facebook, pursuant to articles l. 111, 112 and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my rights are connected to all of my personal data drawings, paintings, pictures, texts, music, etc… Posted on my profile, before this date, now and forever. My consent is necessary for commercial use of what is stated previously is required at all times.”

That message, however, is useless, argues Mickey Osterreicher, General Counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). “That message pops up from time to time, and we try to tell people that posting it doesn’t do anything,” he says. “People really don’t understand copyright, and that’s a problem.”

The latest wave of posts came within hours of Facebook emailing its users its privacy changes, with many photographers — amateurs and professionals alike — arguing that the social network could start commercializing their images.

They are wrong, says Matt Steinfeld, Facebook’s Privacy Communications Manager. “The passage in our terms of service that covers your information and your content has not changed,” he tells TIME. “We can’t sell property that we don’t have. You own the things you share on Facebook.”

By signing up to the social media site, users agree to grant Facebook “a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.” This license, however, ends “when you delete your [Intellectual Property] content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

Steinfeld argues that this license is required to allow Facebook to show that particular content on its platform. “But we can’t turn around and sell [it] without your knowledge or permission,” he adds.

“The issue is that the word ‘use’ is a vague and broad term. It could mean just about anything,” says Osterreicher. “In this case, [this license] only grants Facebook the right to use your content, so it might be hard for a third party to use your images. But it still opens the question of what Facebook plans to use that intellectual property for.”

Facebook, however, has gotten used to this perceived uncertainty, which regularly drives users to debate the social site’s commercial intentions.

“I think people are rightly interested in making sure that they have ownership and control over the things they are sharing,” Steinfeld adds. “When people see things [that allude to the fact] that it might not be the case, they are understandably worried. But, the fact of the matter is that it’s pretty clear-cut. There’s no question that people own the things they share on Facebook.”

TIME Burma

Burma Counts Down to Elections But Democracy Remains a Distant Dream

Adam Dean's photos capture a still impoverished Burma as it stumbles through democratic transition, and ethnic strife, one year before landmark polls

In late October or early November next year Burma will go to the polls. However, the nation, officially now known as Myanmar, remains a long way from realizing true democracy.

Nobel Peace Price winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent 15 years under house arrest since returning to her homeland in 1988, was elected to parliament in April 2012, but remains constitutionally barred from becoming president.

In shunning the pro-democracy icon, Burma’s indomitable military demonstrates that it continues to influence all aspects of life.

The easing of Western economic sanctions has seen Burma’s long-cloistered economy pried open — cellphones and ATMs are now commonplace — but reform has largely been confined to sectors that benefit the generals and their cronies.

In ethnic border regions, rebel groups continue to battle the Burmese Army for greater autonomy, despite a raft of peace deals. Human rights abuses continue unabated; some advocacy groups say they have even increased.

In Burma’s western Rakhine State, the much-maligned Rohingya Muslim minority faces strict curbs on marriage, movement, population growth and education. Over 100,000 of this wretched community fester in squalid ghettos following pogroms by radical Buddhists. Access to food and healthcare is severely limited.

For them, as will the 60% of Burma’s 53 million population who continue to struggle in dire poverty, reforms have so far promised much but delivered little. For the past two years, photographer Adam Dean has been documenting Burma’s stumbling transition.

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