• Photo courtesy of Jesse Fernandez 

Photo courtesy of Jesse Fernandez 

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Jesse Fernandez From Havane to Paris

editorial & artculture & photo…

9 November 2012

Jesse Fernandez was born in Havana in 1925 and died in Paris in 1986 - he was a painter but it is the photographer personality who is outlined here. The artistic life takes him from Cuba to France, via the United States. South America and Caribbean are never very far, or even Spain, and work weaves links with all these cultures. 

These are particularly cities: Havana, New York, Madrid etParis, where leading artistic and literary personalities gather and who attract Fernández. His photographs are so much restitutions of meetings with writers, painters, musicians, dancers or actors, and testify affinity with their worlds. If work concerns above all Cuba, before Castro revolution and during this one, it isn't there that the career of the photographer starts.

After studies of painting, Fernández begins photographing in Colombia in 1952 and continues travelling in South America. In Havana, he is going to sign documentary pictures:he operates for the press in the world of politics, of show and of sports, and the basic salary in its objective on the emergent face of Fidel Castro. The artistic line of Fernández ends in France where he became established in 1977 and dies in 1986. The type which prevails is that of the portrait in situation, by difference with the portrait in studio in which the photographer lends no interest. That is to say the catch sight of workplaces, places of creation, in front of the blank page, in the workshop, but also the environment in which the writer, the artist wants to spend time, to search meetings, or on the contrary to isolate himself. 

Fernández is also attracted by the show of the street, often fixing his view on the surface of walls and the signs which adorn them, choosing these as backdrop as its portraits. A photograph for the basics thought in black and white and component with natural light. If Fernández often favours in the pictures style of drawing, geometry and return of subjects, it is undoubtedly because he looks at the world with an eye of painter impregnated with movements abstracted from the second half of the XXth century. And siles meetings with the great writers in his/her time are numerous, it is because literature counts as much for him as l' artistic experience. All these footbridges contribute to return this original and unclassifiable work. 

Gabriel Bauret, Co-commissioner of exhibition with Juan Manuel Bonet