Marylise Vigneau developed an early taste for peeping through keyholes and climbing walls. Despite her fascination with literature, over time photography has become her chosen mode of expression, though she does not know precisely why. It may be the mix of precision, immediacy, truth and lies which is behind every image. What attracts her first and foremost is how human beings are affected by borders both physical and mental, this fugitive space where an unexpected, bold and fragile act or glimpse of freedom can arise. She is represented by the Anzenberger Agency
In central Havana, utter solitude of a frail old lady. When you walk the streets of Havana, this kind of sad scene is not uncommon. Havana, Cuba, 2016.
In Alamar, a suburb of Havana. This district is primarily Soviet-style prefab construction far away from the city center. Nobody wants to live here. Pedro, 78 years old, almost blind, waits for the rain to cease so he can makes his way to a market where he can afford nothing beyond broken rice and bad beans. Cuba's "updating" of the economic model may benefit some, but retired persons face increasing difficulties as their social benefits are reduced. Havana, Cuba, 2017.
Rainier holding the portrait of his late wife at 17. He will turn 90 next month but still has to work as a barber to survive. The only thing that has changed for him since the economical reforms of 2010 is that he is now a "private" barber. Havana, Cuba, 2016.
Esperanza, 78 years old, proudly showing this stuffed crocodile that comes from the house of her parents in central Havana. She is lucky enough to live with her daughter and her grand children. She cannot find pain killers to relieve the pain in her legs. Havana, Cuba, 2014.
Rafael Macho, a former boxer and a proud companion of the revolution, shows the portrait of his late mother. He is 88 years old and lives alone in central Havana. He is too weak to leave his house, so a social worker delivers food every other day. Havana, Cuba, 2015.
Anna, 58 years old, suffering from cancer. She holds the picture of her daughter gone to Italy a decade ago. She has not heard from her since. Anna lies alone all day in this bed. A family living on the same floor brings her some rice every day. The day this picture was taken she was waiting to be taken to the hospital to undergo surgery. She asked if I could lend her a T-shirt or a dress so that she could be decent at the hospital. Havana, Cuba, 2017.
Rosa, 76 years old, in the bedroom of her daughter in central Havana. The roof of her own bedroom collapsed 12 years ago, and during the rainy season her living room is flooded. She has given up hope for receiving any help with fixing it. For her the spirit of the revolution is long gone. Havana, Cuba, 2017.
Tommy Reyes in his bedroom. He is a former dancer at the National Ballet of Cuba. He is the most witty, melancholic, well read and aware person I met in Cuba. He has had many opportunities to leave the island but always came back because of his mother. She is dead now but it is to late for him to depart. He barely goes out anymore because he is very sad about the "soulless" place Cuba has become. "Everything is about money now," he says. He lives in a big house saturated by memories and tries to make ends meet through his restaurant "Notre Dame des Bijoux" on the roof top. A movie, "Tommy," was made about him by Tora Martens. In this film he talks about love and his sense of longing. Tommy is also HIV positive. Tommy is forever 20 years old. Havana, Cuba, 2017.
In the oldest district of Havana, Enricua Milagro suffers from cancer. She spends her days in this bed, her niece comes once a day to help her. She regularly receives the official newspaper that calls itself "the official voice of the Central Committe of the Cuban Communist Party." Enricua is gracious and mischievous despite her pain and isolation. Havana, Cuba, 2015.
Maria della Caritad, a former teacher, sits by a TV airing the notoriously boring Cuban government programme. Havana, Cuba, 2016.
Juana Milton, 80 years old, on the staircase of her building in downtown Havana. Her father, a Jamaican, was a veteran of the First World War. He died 30 years ago but she still thinks of him every day. She lives alone in a tiny apartment. The state provides medical care but food is scarce. She feels very isolated, especially since her best friend who was from Bulgaria finally managed to gather enough money to fly back to her home country. She had been stuck in Cuba since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Havana, Cuba, 2016.
Oslal, 59 years old. He is a widower and lives with his mother in central Havana. Every night he makes a one and a half hour-long trip to his place of work, on a farm outside the city where he watches over animals. He has been sent to the war in Angola in 78, where he was injured, and later worked "like an horse" near Santiago di Cuba. He is both bitter and immensely tender. Havana, Cuba, 2016.
Felicita, 87 years old, lives alone in the company of stray dogs and cats. Behind her hangs the portrait of her son who died long ago. Havana, Cuba, 2016.
At the iconic movie theater "La Rampa" in Vedado. Veronica has been an usher here for the last 30 years. She is now 63 years old and hopes to be able to work many more years. She still reveres Fidel Castro and thinks that the current difficulties are due to the American embargo. She continues to cherish the revolutionary values of egalitarianism and social justice. Havana, Cuba, 2015.
A old woman passes in front of a mural painted by a young man in Havana. It depicts the usual heroes, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos. They punctuate the derelict space of Havana. Havana, Cuba, 2016.