Guantánamo Bay
Photographs by Christopher Sims

In 2006, I traveled by plane, ferry, and bus to the naval base and joint detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

On this small spit of land, on approximately 45 square miles held in a perpetual lease by the U.S. military, actors from the world stage converge: American interrogators attempt to wrest information from Muslim “unlawful enemy combatants”; Jamaican and Filipino guest workers are imported by contractors to serve food, cut hair at the barbershop, and wash the laundry; and on the base’s residential streets that resemble an American suburb, a handful of Cuban families who fled Castro’s takeover of the island live out their days in exile. Against this backdrop, there are also strikingly mundane activities that take place: children go to school, guards pick up coffee at McDonald’s and Starbucks, and backyard barbeques are planned.

Restrictions by the military made making photographs of people at GTMO impractical, so I chose instead to photograph the environments that people create and inhabit rather than the people themselves, the stage sets rather than the players.

Christopher Sims