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Rum, Rhythm and Revolution: Joakim Eskildsen in Eastern Cuba

Last year, TIME ran a feature on social changes taking place in Cuba. For the piece, Danish photographer Joakim Eskildsen traveled to Havana to capture images of an evolving country where, for many years, time seems to have stood still. But, Eskildsen reasoned, this apparently idyllic picture may be on the brink of disappearing forever. Indeed, he wondered, are the social changes he witnessed happening only in Havana, or are they spreading throughout the entire island nation? 

Looking for answers, Eskildsen embarked on a second journey to the country, driving over 1200 miles to the east, on not-so-good roads, to learn the truth about Cuba’s poorest regions. On his quest, he visited Santiago de Cuba, known to many as the cradle of Cuban traditional music, the home of rum and the birthplace of the Revolution. He turned his lens on incredible landscapes, and met locals who, despite the economic hardships they face (for many, the ravages of Hurricane Sandy are still a part of everyday life), were both welcoming and down to earth. 

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