Fortunate Steps



Authentic and fresh… the streets remain the preserve of those who live there … and when photographing the people he is among them, not sneaking a snap from across the street. – AG Photography Magazine reviewing ‘A Few Streets’, John Comino-James’s first book about Havana.

In his second book of photographs made in Havana, John Comino-James has again set out to explore a part of the city not normally visited by tourists. The geographical scope of the photographs is restricted to a single road, the Calzada del Diez de Octubre. The route itself predates the foundation of the Parish of Jesús del Monte in the 17th century and was formerly known as the Calzada de Jesús del Monte. In 1918 the road was renamed in commemoration of one of the most important events in Cuban history – the declaration of the first full-scale war of independence against Spanish colonial rule on 10th October 1868 by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.

Although its once important function as the principal route to the south has been superseded with the construction of new highways, the Calzada still remains a busy urban thoroughfare. Through engaged portraits and candid observation and with an eye for both architectural detail and the imposing façades that stand as testimony to the changing architectural styles of well over a century, John Comino-James creates an intimate and sympathetic record of the Calzada del Diez de Octubre which, through its long history, occupies an important place in the imagination and memory of Habaneros today.

Born in Somerset, John Comino-James lives near Thame in Oxfordshire. He has published four previous books of photographs; Nearly Every Tuesday, which documented Thame’s weekly street market; Fairground Attraction, which explored the way of life of travelling showmen; A Few Streets, A Few People, an intimate portrayal of the people and surroundings of the Cayo Hueso barrio in Havana, Cuba; and In a Very English Town, which, through photographs and texts acknowledges some of the qualities that typify Thame as an English market town.

ISBN: 978-1-904587-91-0
Hardback, 168 pages, 165mm x 295mm
110 duotone photographs

A Question Of England 
Havana: Intimations of Departure
In A Very English Town
Fairground Attraction
A Few Streets, A Few People