8001 photographic essays in Heidelberg

Insights into the soul of Havana and its people

With exhibition 8001, Antonio Hernández and I show our personal insights into life and the people of Havana: a completely normal city that fascinates us endlessly.

Antonio grew up in Havana, I only visit there, just one of many reasons why we see the city very differently. Nevertheless, he says that I have the look of a Cuban when taking pictures – at least sometimes. For me one of the nicest compliments ever. 

Toni and I spent a lot of time together. Drinking coffee, going around town with the cameras, talking to the people we met, sometimes taking photos and developing films in the darkroom in the evenings and then enlarging them. The result was two exhibitions: Antonio's essay Ciudades Ordinarias was shown at the Fototeca de Cuba in 2019 and now 8001.

A journey from Cuba to Heidelberg: overcome 8150km!

Exhibition 8001 is coming to Heidelberg and I am delighted that it has come full circle.

In November 2019 I flew to Havana and met Bärbel and Friedhelm from Cuba-Hilde Dortmund at the airport in Düsseldorf. We got talking, then flew to Havana together and when we got there they invited me to a few events, which I was also allowed to photograph: Friedhelm's 75th birthday, a conversation with Camillo Guevara at his father's house, El Ché, and the visit of projects and Havana and Santa Clara, which are supported by Cuba-Hilfe Dortmund.

In 2021 we decided to make exhibition 8001 a reality. 8001km – that is the distance from Havana to Dortmund. The aim was to build bridges, to awaken understanding and interest in life in Cuba and the people of Havana. 

Some of the analogue pictures were taken in Havana, but the others were in Heidelberg in the communal darkroom of the Kalamari Club. 

The pictures of Antonio and me, taken in Havana and Heidelberg by two photographers from Havana and Heidelberg, can now be seen in Heidelberg. The Welthaus Heidelberg makes its rooms available for this and we think this is a great and suitable place, check it out! And the pictures!


Photographic essays from Havana

Photographic essays? Is there such a thing?

Clear! And in 8001 you can see 5 of them. 

Photographic essays are a rather rare form of expression. In an essay, you deal with a specific issue and develop a personal point of view on it. Mostly in text form. But the essay is also a form of expression of photography or photojournalism. With his individual visual language, the photographer shows his view of a topic. You can see that very clearly when you look at the essays by Antonio and I side by side. Formally they are very similar. Analogue photographs with people and things made by people such as buildings or sacred utensils. And all in Havana. But of course, Antonio and I have different views of our surroundings and you can see that in the work.

I would like to briefly present two essays here: Piel Adentro by Antonio Hernández and Persona by me. 


Portraits from Havana

In Latin, persona means a person, character, or role. For Dietmar Sebastian Fischer, this dialogue between character and role is the motif of this photographic essay.

He is not concerned with clichés and interesting faces, but with the people and insights into everyday life in this fascinatingly diverse city.

The people of Havana and the stranger got to know each other by chance, and it was only when curiosity about the other turned into interest, trust and sympathy that the atmospherically dense photographs in this series could emerge.

The protagonists here are Lisset, Yonersy and Sergio, three ordinary Havana residents,

a worker, an employee of Fototeca de Cuba and a pensioner. The photographs were taken in their personal environment, to which the photographer was invited, in their living room and bedroom among their families and friends.

A special quality is achieved through the use of analogue 35mm and medium format cameras and the conscious use and reduction to the light that fell into the rooms.

The restriction to simple, classic camera technology and the associated limitation of the number of possible images and the familiar environment helped both: the photographer in focusing on the person and the moment and the portraitists in opening themselves to the camera and thus also to the viewer.

Play Adentro

A journey into the past with Antonio Hernández

This photographic essay by Antonio is about Nelsa, a neighbor of the photographer Antonio Hernández. She is an older woman with a great story to tell.

Without fear, she let him travel through the rooms of her memory, a journey into the past with stages in which she strayed from reality for a short time.

Your memories flit through the apartment, leaving traces that are immortalized in images full of symbolism.

Photographs: Antonio Hernández:

Grusswort OB Heidelberg SHD3851KO22011311260 Dietmar Sebastian Fischer
Greeting from Prof. Dr. Eckart Wuerzner

M202108 Katalog scaled Dietmar Sebastian Fischer

The exhibition catalog with all images and texts can also be downloaded as a zine to buy. 

You are also supporting the projects of Cuba Help. Many Thanks.

Oh yes, and as an eZine you can also view the catalog online.

Have fun!


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