Douglas Despres

Photographer
     
Tobaccoland
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Nationality: American
Biography: Douglas Despres is an documentary and portrait photographer (b. 1981), based out of San Francisco Bay. His stories primarily focus on social and human rights issues in the United States. Editorially, he works with non profits & NGO's,... MORE
Public Story
Tobaccoland
Copyright Douglas Despres 2022
Updated Jun 2021
Topics Agriculture, Community, Cuba, Documentary, Environment, Family, Farming, Parenting & Family, Photography, Pinar del Rio, Tobacco, Travel

TOBACCOLAND


Harvest season life in Pinar del Rio - Cuba's Westernmost province.

In Tobaccoland, where fine leaves are guided into slow curls of smoke, we witness an old romance between human hands and the soil of the earth.

In Cigar Journal, a respected tobacco industry publication, it's said a cigar touches two hundred hands before it is lit. The arc is long, through early Spring during the planting of seeds, through the cultivation until late Winter, when the leaves are handpicked, brought into the drying houses, hand threaded together to a long wooden beam, then hung up in the rafters to dry for three months. The tobacco is then packed and readied for the government, who dictates all the transaction numbers, as it's standard for them to take 90% of the entire crop. The remaining 10% can used however the farmers like, primarily being sold to tourists. After leaving the farm, many other steps take place before the tobacco is for sale in shops worldwide.

Focus often falls on the cigars, though the real heart is the farming community itself. These moments celebrate that lifestyle.
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