Qiuying Lai (1994) was born in China. She studied Engineering at the University of Cambridge, during which she spent a year abroad in America, where she enrolled in a photography course along with her degree studies. She graduated in the summer of 2017 and is currently based in London. She is most interested in portraiture and street photography and her work focuses on exploring people and their relationships with the external world. She finds inspiration in all forms of art, in particular the paintings of Degas and the photographs of William Eggleston.
El Malecon is the first road name I learnt when I first arrived in Havana. It generally refers to an esplanade built on seafronts in Spanish, and the one in Havana connects the old town to the new. Later I discovered that Cienfuegos has one too.
Tourism, being one of the main sources of income for the island, brought foreigners to town squares, monuments, and public parks, where they are met by local taxi drivers, restaurant workers, and casa particulares owners, all providing smiles and services to enhance the ‘Cuban experience’. Being a foreigner myself, I was at times attracted by the holiday mood of tourism, but I also wanted to see the country beyond this industry.
Without knowing the local roads and with no internet access, we often went for long and quiet walks away from busy city centers whilst keeping close to the seafront.
To view more of Qiuying Lai’s work please visit their website.