Lisette Poole

6x6 North and Central America Talent: Lisette Poole, Cuba/United States

“Lisette Poole focuses on the experiences during an investigation. She uses photography, words, atmospheres to make not just pictures, but make people travel, sharing without judgement.” - Romina Resuche, Argentina, curator, journalist, and 6x6 nominator.

Lisette Poole is a Cuban-American photojournalist, currently based in Mexico. She works in Latin America using various mediums and formats to tell intimate and multi-dimensional stories from the region, focusing on women. 

La Paloma y La Ley

La Paloma y La Ley follows Marta and Liset, two women who left Cuba in May 2016 with no plan, just the name of a smuggler scribbled on a piece of paper, and a dream to make it to the United States. They hoped to arrive before the imminent end of ‘wet foot, dry foot,’ a policy that fast-tracked Cubans to asylum and permanent residency. Lisette Poole followed along on 51 days of this journey through 13 countries, across 10 borders, and six days in the Darien Gap, a roadless stretch of jungle between Colombia and Panama. She continued documenting Marta and Liset’s new lives in the United States in the three years after she made the journey with them.
A people smuggler in Brazil trails a car holding Marta Amaro, Liset Barrios and other migrants, on 14 May 2016.
On her last day in the Darien Gap, Liset puts on her makeup before what will be a grueling day of walking for 14 hours with little food and water, 14 June 2016.
Liset stops to take pictures on the footbridge from Matamoros, Mexico, to Brownsville, Texas, United States, on 2 July 2016. She says she feels numb having finally made it after such a long journey. Because of the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy, Liset is able to walk into Customs and Border Protection and claim asylum. The policy was repealed by President Obama six months later.
For her grandson’s birthday, Martha saved up to hire a clown and throw a party for all the kids in the neighborhood. Given permanent residency in the United States quickly through the Cuban Adjustment Act, Liset and Marta now travel back and forth to Cuba regularly.. 27 May 2018.

Reggaetón Revolución

Though popular, Reggaeton is an underground movement in Cuba, banned from state media outlets and recording studios. Artists lay tracks in basements and promote their music through a weekly system of offline sharing known as ‘El Paquete’ (‘the package’). Because piracy is legal in Cuba, artists don’t make money in sales, but rather by touring the island’s provinces, fueled by the dedication from their young fans. In the capital city, entry fees are equal to the average Cuban's monthly salary ($30), yet concerts are reliably packed, brimming with the energy of a new generation.

Reggaetón Revolución is a multimedia production showing a group of artists poised to gain success as the island opened up to the United States for the first time in decades. The story shows the moment in time where Cuba was ready for a major change. However, the new presidency in the United States quickly quashed those dreams. Artists used to long to stay in Cuba, but now many have left the embargoed island garnering little opportunity for their futures.