The Africans in Hector Acebes' photographs are many things: sexy, wary, flirtatious, proud, irritated, and amused. Normally, a photo might say a thousand words. But with these remarkable photos of Africa, that estimate must be raised considerably. Acebes, a New-York-born Colombian with a decidedly international upbringing and spirit of adventure to match, journeyed throughout Africa in the late 1940's and early 1950's with a camera and an eye for the realities missed by so many other photographers before him. Most photographers made no attempt to depict anything but the most crude stereotypes of what white Europeans and Americans expected or wanted to see. Acebes was a glaring exception.
His subjects were the people, of all ages and social positions, from the most remote, primitive areas of the continent, to the most metropolitan of cities. But his camera and his perspective caught something special. While other photographers used 35mm cameras, which they pointed like a gun at the subject, Acebes preferred a Rolleiflex, a camera he held at belt level, composing the shot by looking down. The photographer could then look up and make eye contact with the subject a second before releasing the shutter. The result captured that bit of personality and humanity so wanting in other photos of that era. Acebes explained that this method was less intimidating and created a personal relationship with the subject.
The photographer recently celebrated his 90th anniversary and lives in Bogotá, Colombia.
ARTCO presents in this solo show thirty silver gelatin prints for the first time in Germany.