Washing lines in Cuba; Observation in Photography

At the risk of being considered at best boringly weird or at worst even a bit of a voyeur I am about to reveal a secret passion for washing lines. That’s not an opening line that might be expected on this or any other travel site for that matter! They do however make good subjects for photography.

Watching the washing dry in Baracoa on the Caribbean island of Cuba on Mallory on Travel adventure photography Iain Mallory-300-253

Watching the washing dry

A string of washing hung out to dry can reveal a little of the culture, and in this respect at least it could be described as a form of voyeurism. A little peek into the economic situation and the dress preferences of a destination. Although observing too closely may result in conversationswith police officers.

Washing lines make great photography subjects in Baracoa on the Caribbean island of Cuba on Mallory on Travel adventure photography Iain Mallory-300-252

High and dry in Baracoa

A person’s laundry can often show social standing, often poverty as the clothes are worn and washed out or sometimes little beyond rags. The love of the beautiful game is also clear as the shirts of Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool or AC Milan football clubs will often be seen waving in the breeze. Regardless of distance from the home country or the economic situation the colours of the giants of club football are found everywhere.

Mixed washing lines make great photography subjects in Havana on the Caribbean island of Cuba on Mallory on Travel adventure photography Iain Mallory-300-263

Mixed washing and peeled paint

Multiple washing lines make great photography subjects in Havana on the Caribbean island of Cuba on Mallory on Travel adventure photography Iain Mallory-300-265

Washing mosaics

The most colourful fabrics sometimes provide a stark contrast against the peeling walls of the family home. This is often a rich splash of vibrancy against the discoloured, washed out or bland backdrop of the surrounding buildings.

Shanty type towns usually have plenty of washing out, bedding can still seem brilliantly white despite often being washed by hand. Towels, mixed clothing and even tablecloths will come in various shades brightening up austere scenes which are typical of the daily drudgery in many townships.

Colourful washing in Havana on the Caribbean island of Cuba on Mallory on Travel adventure photography Iain Mallory-300-259

Assorted washing in Havana

The bewildering array of hung out laundry from several apartments in the same block can provide a colourful mosaic. They demonstrate the individuality of the residents that belong to each line. It is probably these different hues and shades which appeal to the eye of a photographer.

Balcony washing line in Trinidad on the Caribbean island of Cuba on Mallory on Travel adventure photography Iain Mallory-300-257

Balcony washing

Colourful photography subjects in Baracoa on the Caribbean island of Cuba on Mallory on Travel adventure photography Iain Mallory-300-254

The building prviding the colour in Baracoa

The laundry displayed in this post is all from Cuba, mainly Havana but also some of the other cities such as Baracoa or Trinidad. This can also be of interest as there are often regional differences in the fabrics which people hang out to dry.

Washing makes a colourful photography subjects in Baracoa on the Caribbean island of Cuba on Mallory on Travel adventure photography Iain Mallory-300-260

Lines of washing in Havana

Relaxing after doing the laundry in Havana, Cuba in the Caribbean on Mallory on Travel adventure photography Iain Mallory-300-268

Taking a break in Havana

Pretty sure I’m beginning to sound like a bit of an anorak now so best to allow the images tell their own story.

However, hopefully this post will convince you to look around a little more, and risk a few strange looks by pointing a lens at the occasional washing line. One last word of advice avoid those filled with underwear, male or female as explanations to the police will probably be a little more difficult.

Classic cars and washing lines make great photography subjects in Havana, Cuba in the Caribbean on Mallory on Travel adventure photography

Classic lines in Havana

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Comments 4

  1. Joanne Gardner

    I, too, have an obcession with laundry in photos. I’m always drawn to the colors against the backgrounds and the inventiveness of how and where people hang the clothes. Glad to know I am not alone in my voyeurism.

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