EVEN THOUGH IN THE HEART OF THE CARIBBEAN, OR PROBABLY JUST BECAUSE, THE WEATHER PLAYS UNEXPECTED GAMES ON CUBA. EVERY ONE WHO HAS VISITED THE CITY OF HAVANA KNOWS THAT A SUNNY DAY CAN TURN INTO STORMY WEATHER WHERE THREATENING WAVES POUND ON THE OLD, OFTEN DILAPIDATED WALLS THAT SEPARATE EL MALECÓN FROM THE OCEAN AS IF THE SEA IS DETERMINED TO CLAIM THE ISLAND FOR ITSELF. THESE UNEXPECTED CHANGES, THE ABILITY TO CHANGE YOUR PLANS ON THE SPOT, IT IS ALL PART OF CUBAN LIFE. KEVIN SLACK KNOWS THIS AS NO OTHER.
- The Ruined Apartment -
Los Jardines de la Polar is Kevin Slack's secret paradise in Havana and every time he returns to the Cuban capital, he makes sure he has some time reserved to spend in the small forgotten garden. Preferably with one or more of his many Cuban friends. This time it was the turn for Marlon and Andro, but unfortunately once again, the weather had other plans and the skies refused to clear up. And so, determined to have the twins in front of his camera, Kevin decided upon a different location. And as if the gods of rain and sunshine agreed with him, once decided the sun broke through and blessed Kevin and his friends with a few hours of dramatic rays of light. Which he put to good use while shooting the twins in an old ruined apartment.
“Working again with the twins Marlon and Andro has been at the top of my list since I last left Havana. The brothers have, besides beautiful honey brown skin, an electric charm and easiness with me and with each other that gets me and keeps me entirely enrapt and I might still be working, still be working, in that space with the twins if the sky didn't open up in a wild torrent long before I felt we were finished.” Kevin got his work done, but that was not the only time nature favored him.
- Return to Los Jardines de la Polar -
Socialism - community working for the community - doesn't expect or even want privacy. And it's sometimes vexingly tricky to find a little space of privacy in Cuba either to relax and breathe or, indeed, to put together the kind of work that Kevin Slack wants to put together. And that week in particular, with a nearby tropical storm casting a large cloud over the island too, he was positively mad with drained resources, drained patience, and missed moments and opportunities too. And so inevitably, when Kevin had the twins, Marlon and Andro, he took them to his secret paradise: Los Jardines de la Polar. It's an abandoned space in Havana gone to ruin and forgotten even by its neighbors. And when Cuba and time ever finds it again and re-claims it, Kevin will be as sad as Adam sent out of Paradise.
“This day, back in my secret gardens, with the brothers, God spoiled me. First, with the space and the quiet that comes at you all of a sudden and runs right through you. It has happened every time I have been there. And moments after we arrived, the unlucky, uncommon, and tenacious cold and wet of that mad week burned away. The sun came out. That old antique canopy dried and lifted. It really is an enchantment. The gardens are my magic charm and they have always put me right. And enchanting too, of course, are the brothers. Not just the golden honey brown skin, not just the tight muscled torsos, not just the bright piercing eyes; they exude an energy that must, had we had the language to read it, contain the secret of life, entirely devoid of shame or self-consciousness, at turns boyishly playful, good-naturedly competitive, disarmingly tender, angelic even, and always, yes, always altogether enchanting.”
“The gardens restore me and exhaust me - exhaust me because I burn with inspiration there and I won't leave until I absolutely have to. And so after I had spent my inspiration, and after the long walk out, we stopped by the road, and had croquettes and beers. We made toasts. The brothers made fun of me but in a way that could only make me happy. They explained: Andro was mostly introverted while Marlon was extroverted. Andro claimed he was stronger and smarter. But Marlon was quick to add that Andro was also lazier. And I sat back with my beer, restored.” –BM-
KEVIN SLACK | BEAUTIFULMAG