Evans arrived in Havana in spring 1933, just months before the collapse of the bloody eight-year reign of dictator Gerardo Machado. He had been commissioned by the Philadelphia publisher J.B. Lippincott to make pictures for Carleton Beals's Crime of Cuba, a history of the country and an indictment of American support for Machado's regime. Evans claimed never to have read the book, however, and would routinely distance himself from the ideological agendas of his employers. Instead, the photographer probably looked for inspiration to the model of Eugène Atget, the great encyclopedic chronicler of another city on the cusp of historic change. Evans made over 400 negatives during his stay, collecting the city with his camera: from street vendors and commercial signs to policemen, sleeping beggars, and the stevedores pictured here.