Dougal Brownlie's photograph 'Fight for Freedom' got a Gold award in Sports Feature category at the recent CPOY 70. Catching Photo of Yours (CPOY) is a new CPOY Blog feature that gives photographers a chance to share the emotional and technical aspects of making their award-winning photograph.
I have always loved history, sports and travel. During my senior year of college college I made it a point to include a trip to a more unusual destination. When I had the rare opportunity to visit Cuba I could not resist. I knew that I would be able to find something interesting to document given the long-standing U.S. embargo against Cuba. I was really interested to see the impact of our policies on people’s lives. What I did not know was that during my visit on December 17, 2014, Obama would make an announcement calling for eventual full diplomatic relations with Cuba. I was really fortunate to have been able to witness history and to see the reactions of people everywhere.
While I was looking for a perfect moment my travel companion, Ross Thayer, invited me to accompany him to Rafael Trejo, a small covert boxing gym in Havana. Ross was doing a story on boxing, which I discovered continues to be a much-loved sport in Cuba despite the 50 year ban on professional sports. While I was at the gym, I took this picture of the young boys, their coach and the women in the window. I was hoping to show the love of boxing seen in the passion expressed by the coach, but I also wanted to include the women in the window as an expression of hope for their children to be strong and prosper. I chose to convert the photo to black and white in order to reduce distraction and to honor the nostalgia of a country on the cusp of the old and the inevitable new. sIn a way, given the historical context, this photo is a larger metaphor for Cuba, it’s fighting spirit, and it’s hope for the future.