About Us

Who We Are

OneWorldSeen began as a publishing project in 2020 when co-publishers Jennifer Spelman and Andrew Child pooled their talents to create CubaSeen — a bilingual photo zine about Cuba by Cuban and American photographers and writers. After publishing our first eight issues, we have expanded to include:

  • Travel workshops
  • Educational programs
  • Exhibitions
Antique car in Cuba by Jennifer Spelman
Color infrared photo of ballerina Mariem Valdes at La Concha, Havana, Cuba

A Passion for Cuba (and Great Photography)

Like many visual artists, we first came to Cuba with a mixture of curiosity and desire to document what seemed to be an exotic location. What we found – beyond the touristic veneer of classic cars, rum, and cigars – was a complex, resilient, and welcoming culture.

From strangers inviting us into their home to share coffee to fellow photographers sharing their favorite locations, we continue to be humbled by the warmth of the Cuban people.

Our mission is a direct response to these experiences. It is to share positive messages about Cuban/U.S. relations during this challenging time:

  • The friendships that come from meeting artists and fellow photographers.
  • The cross-pollination of creative ideas.
  • The debunking of myths that citizens of our countries hold about each other.

Our Cuba Travel Program

The core of our travel workshops is the Cuba program, which was started by Santa Fe Workshops in 2010 and where Jennifer served as a key staff member from 2011 onward. The original intent of the program was to build relationships between photographers from the US and Cuba. We are excited to continue this mission and launch some of our own new initiatives:

  • Offering small-group workshops and tours with access to unique locations and people in Cuba.
  • Bringing well known and dynamic instructors back to Cuba.
  • Adding new workshops to the mix, such as the CubaSeen Creative Retreat.
  • Publishing an annual arts zine sharing curated work from both countries.
  • Creating shared exhibition opportunities within the US and Cuba.

These workshops continue to offer US residents a legal way to travel to Cuba and engage with fellow photographers and artists under the people-to-people educational exchange general license.

Arien Chang looking at negatives in Cuba by Jennifer Spelman
Swimmers in surf, Cuba. By Jennifer Spelman

How We Travel

It has been said that habaneros know how to hurry slowly. It’s a lesson we take to heart every time we’re in Cuba.

Rather than rushing to each destination, we linger, watch, and wander. Sometimes it’s for the right light, at others it’s the perfect gesture, frequently it’s a cafecito or heartwarming moment shared with locals we meet.

We set aside traditional notions of travel photography to focus both literally and inwardly on creating mindful imagery that respects the culture we are visiting and – not coincidentally – reflects the beauty of the people and spaces we are fortunate to photograph.

Travel to Cuba Legally

This trip allows US citizens to travel legally to Cuba under the People-to-People General License for educational exchanges (Title 31 CFR § 515.560). We focus on authentic connections and meaningful interactions, capturing the spirit of the Cuban people through our lenses.

Photographer taking photo of Havana Harbor at sunrise by Andrew Child

Our Staff

Jennifer Spelman

Jennifer Spelman

Trip Leader | Co-Founder

Jennifer Spelman is a documentary photographer, educator and workshop leader based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has worked extensively across Cuba since 2011.

During over sixty visits to the island, she’s experienced the friendly generosity of a people always willing to share conversation and a cup of coffee. She has come to understand that to be Cuban is to greet adversity with ingenuity, patience and humor. Life in Cuba is lived on the streets, and Jennifer is happiest amidst their constant motion and layered serendipity.

She co-founded OneWorldSeen in 2021 and co-publishes its photo zine, CubaSeen.

Jennifer is a patient educator who has co-instructed with Santa Fe Workshops and National Geographic Expeditions. Among her many other photography-related endeavors, she has traveled extensively, teaching workshops in Turkey, Morocco, India, Romania, Spain, Mexico, Japan, India, and Cuba.

Website: jenniferspelman.com

Carlos Otero Blanco

Carlos Otero Blanco

Partner | Resident Cuban Expert & Guide

Carlos Otero Blanco is a dynamic photographer who specializes in inventive conceptual projects and creative underwater photography. His wide range of thematic interests spans documentary photography, portraiture, and nature.

Carlos may be best known for his sensitive photographic study of Cuban bedrooms, with hundreds photographed since 2009. The exquisite images were published in his book, Dormir con… (To Sleep with…), co-authored with Enrique Rottenberg, which has been shown in several national and international exhibits, and was featured in The New York Times, among other publications.

Born and raised in Havana, Carlos knows Cuba He has explored its rivers, its shorelines, its cities and villages, its mountains, its farmland and, most intimately, its people. His many friends across the island light up whenever he arrives. His wit and character are threaded throughout his vividly expressive portrait series, Cuba Vive, and are readily recognizable within his diverse selection of photographic subjects from around and across the island.

Carlos has a deep commitment to the natural world, and relishes adventure photography. He has participated in studies of subaquatic archeology, and holds several divemaster and instructor titles, as well as numerous awards for his spectacular underwater photography.

Instagram: @oteroblancocu

Andrew Child

Andrew Child

Operations & Technology | Co-Founder

Andrew Child is an author and photographer based in suburban Boston. He considers Cuba to be the land of his creative nexus and has been photographing on the island since 2013.

Andrew’s first photo book, Havana: Light Beyond Vision, explores the Caribbean metropolis through his unique niche of color, infrared panoramic photography. He co-founded OneWorldSeen in 2021 and co-publishes its zine CubaSeen.

As an instructor, Andrew adapts the field of design-thinking to the creative process, teaching artists how to refine and edit their body of work to best communicate intent and meaning to their audience.

Andrew brings self-effacing humor, web expertise, and project management experience to his operations and technology role and serves as the main point-of-contact in the US while workshops are underway in Cuba.

Website: andrewchild.com

Our Instructors

Arthur Meyerson

Arthur Meyerson

Instructor

Arthur Meyerson is recognized as one of America’s finest color photographers. Since 1974, this native Texan has traveled throughout the world, creating award winning advertising, corporate and editorial photographs, as well as an extensive body of fine art imagery.

Besides his commercial work, Arthur’s fascination with light, color, gesture, and “the moment” is never-ending, and has culminated into an impressive body of personal work. His 2012 highly acclaimed book, The Color of Light, is a testament to his brilliant creativity and careful construction using insightful tools he has been perfecting for decades. His second book, The Journey, was published in 2017.

A lauded photographer with a strong commitment to his profession, Arthur teaches photography workshops, offers individual mentoring, and engages in speaking engagements throughout the United States and abroad.

Website: www.arthurmeyerson.com

Photo by Sam Abell

Joe McNally

Joe McNally

Instructor

Joe’s photographic career has been intertwined with dance since his early professional days when he, “began to witness the beauty, the audacity, and the sheer grit of the dancer.”

Joe is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer whose prolific career includes assignments in 70 countries. His photography combines incredible technical prowess and vivid imagination. He is the “Real Deal.” His work has been selected for five covers of National Geographic and seven covers of Life Magazine, as well as countless other publications, sharing significant visual stories brought to life by his authentic imagery.

Website: joemcnally.com

Leysis Quesada Vera

Leysis Quesada Vera

Instructor

Leysis Quesada Vera’s images convey sensitive vignettes of women’s lives in Havana. Moments with her daughters, local dancers, and her neighborhood are elevated into elegant, almost dreamlike visions . Her images transport the viewer into a Havana that is both deeply personal and cleverly metaphoric.

Leysis’ dance images are included in collections in the International Center for Photography (ICP) and the Getty Museum. She has been commissioned by the Annenburg Space for Photography and has completed projects supported by the Magnum Foundation.

Website: leysisquesada.com

Nelson Ramirez de Arellano

Nelson Ramirez de Arellano

Director of the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center and the Havana Biennial

Nelson Ramirez de Arellano Conde launched his artistic career in 1993 as a member of the artist group ArteNativa, a collective focused on social and ecological themes in Havana. He also collaborated with Cuban artist Liudmila Velasco to create Liudmila & Nelson, a photography-based artistic team which represented Cuba at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.

In addition to his career as an artist, Nelson was the Chief Curator and eventually Director of the Cuban National Center for Photography (Fototeca de Cuba). Presently, he is the Director of the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center and the Havana Biennial.

Ramirez de Arellano also is Co-founder and Curator at Fábrica de Arte Cubano — the most successful and popular cultural project in Cuba, recently nominated by Time Magazine amongst the 100 greatest places in the world.

Instagram: @liudmila_and_nelson_art_choice