By Mark McConville
STUNNING pictures have revealed the dream-like quality of Havana, Cuba as the pastel-coloured buildings draw you in.
The incredible images show an array of light blue, orange and pink buildings including some intricate designs with pillars and huge palm trees also a feature.
Other striking shots show the amazing vintage cars that cruise through the Cuban capital, little shops off the beaten path and graffiti of Che Guevara.
The vivid colour photographs were taken in Havana, Cuba by photographer Helene Havard (36), from Brittany, France.
“I wanted to visit Cuba as I have always wondered about a country that lives under communism,” she said.
“I fell in love with her decayed side. You can see different streets of Havana. I chose these shots at random strolling in the streets.
“I just took the pictures without thinking that much about it just because I liked it. I like the shape, colours and form.
“I’ve tried to show a dreamy vision of a place where it may be hard to dream under a communist regime.”
The city of Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the Americas, becoming a stopping point for treasure-laden Spanish galleons returning to Spain.
Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado and the newer suburban districts. The city attracts over a million tourists annually; the Official Census for Havana reports that in 2010 the city was visited by 1,176,627 international tourists, a 20% increase from 2005.
Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The city is also noted for its history, culture, architecture and monuments.
Helene’s photos of Havana have also been compared to something from a Wes Anderson film due to the distinctive visual and narrative styles he is renowned for.
“Some people like it and some don’t as they think it is not the reality of Havana but this is my reality,” added Helene.
“I know some streets of Cuba are totally destroyed and different to the way I depicted them but I wanted to apply my personal touch to this city and I am glad if people are able to see beauty in them.”