Archive of Scott Loftesness

Scott Loftesness has lived in Menlo Park for over 15 years and is a big fan of most things Menlo. By day, he’s a payments strategy consultant at Glenbrook Partners (on Alma St. across from the Menlo Park Caltrain station). Most days, he frequents Cafe Borrone for either breakfast or lunch – and works out down the block at Axis when he can. During their morning walks together, Scott learned a tremendous amount about photography from the late Chris Gulker– especially about the power of black and white! You can find Scott's personal blog at and follow him on Twitter as @sjl.

Scott has written 132 article(s) for InMenlo.

Raúl Cañibano - Cuban Photographer and Storyteller

Two years ago, I was fortunate to spend a week in Havana, Cuba as part of a photography-oriented people-to-people exchange. We spent seven wonderful days in the heart of Havana — Old Havana and Central Havana.

The best part of my whole experience in Havana was watching and working with several great Cuban photographers who took us out on the streets of the city. We learned by watching these Cuban photographers work, taking us through the neighborhoods — and seeing the things that they saw that we might otherwise overlook.

One of those Cuban photographers was Raúl Cañibano — and, wow, did I especially enjoy watching Raúl work. He led us — slowly — on a very special Sunday morning photo walk in Central Havana. The seven of us in our group will never forget that Sunday morning — walking in the drizzle and rain — walking with Raúl and seeing a bit through his eyes. On our last afternoon in Havana, we went to an Afro-Cuban dance/drum rehearsal, and I was fortunate to be able to catch the image above of Raúl at work.

On the streets, Raúl walked in his own special way, scanning constantly with his eyes while keeping his camera — a Nikon D40 — holstered on his belt. When he saw something, he’d quickly pull up the camera and shoot, not needing to take any time to compose. Raúl was so familiar with his camera and its lens that he could judge the image composition without needing the camera’s viewfinder. Bang! He’d snap the shot, often crouching or stretching to get a special angle or unusual light into the frame.

Chronicles of the City, Blackout, Havana, 2005

We currently have a unique opportunity to see a special exhibition of Raúl’s images now on display through March 11, 2015 at the Krause Center for Innovation (KCI) Gallery at Foothill College. Cañibano’s images in this exhibition tell the tales of everyday Cubans in the city (Chronicles of the City) and in the countryside (Guajira’s Land), and confront the loneliness and abandonment of aging in Cuba (Sunset).

My photo buddy Doug Kaye and I recently visited the exhibition. Doug was with me for that week in Havana two years ago. What struck us about Raúl’s work in this exhibition were these elements:

  • Subjects — multiple subjects — often one of them on the edge of the image. Several of the images actually had three subjects arrayed across the frame. Beautiful storytelling.
  • Always natural light — no flash photography — often he includes shadows as important elements in his compositions which helps orchestrate your eye traveling over the image.
  • Use of reflections — images within images — and unusual juxtapositions, often playing the foreground against the background as two different worlds. Sometimes what’s going on in the foreground is quite unaware of the background or vice versa.

“His images evoke the classic compositions of European and American photographers from the 1930’s, like Walker Evans who also photographed in Havana,” says Ron Herman, Photography Professor at Foothill College and Curator of the exhibition. “Cañibano’s use of interesting framing devices and layering of subjects throughout the picture plane are reminiscent of Josef Koudelka and Sebastião Salgado. Cañibano has the intuition to know when to click the camera at the exact moment when the image elements are perfectly positioned within the frame. It’s as if he adapted Henri Cartier-Bresson’s ‘The Decisive Moment’ to fit the intoxicating chaos of Cuba, where a single small space is often utilized for multiple distinctly different purposes. He captures the apex of multiple stories unfolding simultaneously within the same scene, thereby defining ‘The Decisive Cuban Moment.'”

Guajira's Land, Manati, 1999

Profession Herman will be giving a lunchtime Gallery Talk about the exhibition on Wednesday, March 4, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm at the Krause Center for Innovation (KCI) Gallery. Herman has led a number of photo tours of Cuba and met Raúl on one of his tours several years ago. Their friendship led to this opportunity to showcase Raúl’s work at Foothill College.

For more information on the exhibit please visit: An exhibition catalog is also available for purchase. An earlier book of Raúl’s images titled Raúl Cañibano: PHotoBolsillo is also available on A few of his images from the current exhibition at Foothill College are included below.

The exhibit is located in the KCI Gallery, on the lower level of the Krause Center for Innovation, Building 4000, at Foothill College 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022. Please park in Lot 4. Parking is $3.00 (quarters or $1 bills only). Disabled parking in Lot 4-B. KCI hours of operation are Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 6:30 pm; Saturday: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm; Closed Sundays.

Scott Loftesness is an InMenlo co-founder. Photo of Raúl Cañibano © 2013 by Scott Loftesness. Other images © Raúl Cañibano.

Untitled - Guajira's Land, Viñales, 2007

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Nearby: The James Johnston House in Half Moon Bay

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Last weekend I participated in a two day photo workshop in Half Moon Bay led by fine art photographer Chris Honeysett. As it turns out, the first ever photo workshop I ever participated in was led by Chris back in 2009 – five years ago this month. For that workshop, we walked in San Francisco’s […]

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The Wheels of San Francisco

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I was in San Francisco recently doing some street photography with my friend Doug Kaye. Here are a couple of grab shots – one on rollerblades, the other on a skateboard. Both images shot with my Fujifilm X100S. For more images from the day, see my album on Flickr.

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“Capture the mood!” says photographer Michael Frye

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In street photography, it’s mostly about capturing gesture – along with great light and color. In landscape photography, things shift – there’s no “person of interest”, no gesture to catch our eye. So we need to try something different. Landscape photographer Michael Frye suggests we try to capture the mood of the place – a […]

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“Go for the gesture!” says photographer Jay Maisel

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I was very fortunate recently to participate in a week long photography workshop in New York City’s Nolita area taught by Jay Maisel. Maisel is a well known New York photographer – having done commercial work for many years before moving on to only shoot images for his own portfolio. His New York street photographs […]

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A Morning at Filoli

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I enjoy heading out for photography after the rains finish while there are still interesting clouds in the sky. Those clouds make for soft light – and, when partly cloudy, a mix of light and shadows. Saturday morning provided such an opportunity – and I headed for Filoli to see what I could find. I […]

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A few great memories from photography explorations in 2013

Looking back over a year is something many of us do at this holiday season. I’ve enjoyed looking back at 2013, as it appears in my Lightroom catalog of images captured over the year. I find it sort of amazing that Lightroom reports I’ve taken 7,697 images in 2013. Good grief! I recently put together a […]

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A Walk through Menlo Park’s Allied Arts with the new Fujifilm X-E2

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Yesterday’s article by Linda about Menlo Park’s Allied Arts reminded me about what a beautiful place it is. After running some errands yesterday afternoon, I stopped by Allied Arts for a walk through the grounds. I had my new Fujifilm X-E2 “mirrorless” camera with me – and captured a few images with it using the […]

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Photo Explorations with the new Fujifilm X-E2 Camera

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For the last several years, I’ve enjoyed photography using a lot of Canon gear – both the point and shoot PowerShot family as well as Canon’s “prosumer” line of digital SLR’s. My Canon 5D Mark II has served me very well – a great camera body and the Canon lenses are top notch in terms […]

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More Menlo Park Halloween Hoopla 2013 Photos!

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Ryan Cole, a junior at Menlo-Atherton High School, submitted several more great photos he took at today’s Menlo Park Halloween Parade. Enjoy!

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Menlo Park’s Halloween Hoopla Parade 2013

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We were on hand for the start of Menlo Park’s annual Halloween Parade this morning. Here are a few photos I captured with my Fujifilm X100S near the beginning of parade route down Santa Cruz Avenue.

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