Unseen Cuba: The First Ever Aerial Images of a Foreign Land

Curators’ Corner

Unseen Cuba: The First Ever Aerial Images of a Foreign Land

Few Americans have experienced the astounding beauty of Cuba. For decades, the complicated and controversial state of Cuba-U.S. relations has made a land less than 100 miles off the coast of Florida all but inaccessible.

Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaiša gives us an enchanting view of Cuba from above in Unseen Cuba, a project that has much more than a helicopter and a camera for a back story. Jovaiša, the founder of Unseen Pictures and a modern explorer of the Caribbean, spent five years and $1 million to bring Unseen Cuba to fruition.

“I went to see Cuba and realized that nobody has been able to take aerial pictures of that amazing country because of a secretive political regime and technical difficulties,” Jovaiša told the Huffington Post. “I thought it would be awesome to try to become the first man on the planet who could convince the Cuban government to give permission for such an endeavor.”

The photographer spent two years navigating paperwork and bureaucracy alone before moving on to logistics, which weren’t any easier. For most projects, Jovaiša simply rents a helicopter and plans his shoot. But the lone rental service in Cuba had only an oversized MI-8 that wasn’t viable. Jovaiša instead had to order an ultralight aircraft from Australia and have it shipped to Cuba. After that, there were more politics and certifications, not to mention finding a pilot and mechanic to operate it.

Nevertheless, Jovaiša pressed forward and got Unseen Cuba off the ground. The result is a spectacular collection of 400 never-before-seen images of the Latin American country, from seaside cliffs and valleys to pristine waters and unique villages. The book is supplemented with an app for Android and Apple phones.

Behind these pictures is what Jovaiša aptly described as “a wonder of nature and human history, an absolutely unique place in the world.”

“The people of Cuba are incredibly sincere, welcoming, warm and tough because of difficult and poor life conditions,” he said. “But instead of breaking them, the difficulties made them very strong and inventive.”

Enjoy a few of Jovaiša’s photographs below, and click here to visit the Unseen Cuba website.

Marius Jovaiša Unseen Cuba Marius Jovaiša Unseen Cuba Marius Jovaiša Unseen Cuba Marius Jovaiša Unseen Cuba: Beach Marius Jovaiša Unseen Cuba Air Marius Jovaiša

All images © Marius Jovaiša


  1. The pictures are beautiful, but the photographer’s and curator’s description of how he persuaded the Cuba government to shoot them ignores the reality of over 50 years of threats and actual aerial violence against the island. Since the release of the Cuban Five, who were jailed in the early 90s for acting to stem that violence and framed up for their patriotism and identity with Cuba’s sovereign rights, the Cuban government may feel photographs for peaceful purposes can now be permitted. The curator(s) might ask them. for they will find them far less secretive than they imagine.

  2. It may be worth discussing wethher section 79 applies at all to such a case, since the section is limited to offences/acts under the IT Act. Since the IT Act does not cover intellectual property issues, it could be argued that section 79 does not apply to IP cases.Therefore, one has to look to the Indian Copyright Act to determine if the contributory infringement sections embodied therein apply. Section 63 makes the knowing abetting of copyright infringement a criminal offence. However since this section is penal in nature and provides for imprisonment/ fine, the standard of proof would be an extremely high one. I’m not sure that youtube would be liable under this.Secondly, section 51 (a) (ii) stipulates that “permitting for proift any place to be used for communicaiton of the work to the public” is an infringement. It remains to be seen wethher a court is likely to interpret place to mean “virtual space” as well.

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