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Robert Eliasson & Fabian Hernandez – Unfiltered

Exhibition January 2023 – April 2023

Most foreign photographers tend toward the postcard image of Havana; old cars, beautiful architecture, the Malecón, and the Tropicana Nightclub. And in the countryside, fields of tobacco as far as the eye can see, and farmers in straw hats chomping on handmade cigars. Somehow, the brilliance of this beautiful city and the rule area shows up regularly as a veneer over the real heart and soul of this nation: the people. This is the strength of Robert Eliasson’s Cuban photographs. They pull back a curtain that allows us to see who the Cuban people are in how they imagine themselves in very personal pictures. These images reveal the inner spirit and character of a country and its people.

Havana has always and will always, we hope, remain one of the world’s most beautiful cities. But without its people, it is a beautiful empty shell. It is the Cuban people in the cities and in the countryside that make it rich and beautiful in ways that often are over- looked.

That’s the job of photography, to move us emotionally, to reveal things to us, to change us. The photographer is the translator, but it will always be the people in the photographs that move us. Some photographers get in the way of that, but somehow Robert has avoided the picture postcards that have confirmed a certain but limited view of Cuba. He is a bystander taking notes and registering what’s in front of him, allowing the viewer to be moved emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.

In these photographs, we see a society where the people are described as open and proud and intimate, and that is the sort seen just out of the corner of one’s eyes. As photographers, especially foreign ones, we should show things the way they are. It’s essential to show the challenges faced by a people who have been deliberately isolated by some nations but also the strength of the spirit and the great joy and beauty of Cuba’s people. And in these images, Robert Eliasson has stayed out of the way and lets Cuba’s soul stand out front and centre.
– Maggie Steber

He has a vision; he has a focus; he has a joy in him that makes him very human and that he conveys through his images.
-Anders Petersen

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