30.11.2018 Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo

Personal Best vol.3 | Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo

Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo

Architect, National University of Colombia. MA Photography and Urban Cultures, Goldsmiths College, University of London. Member of Collective +1, CROMA, Fujifilm’s X-Photographer. Projects photographed in South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and USA, exhibited in over 80 individual and collective exhibitions: Fototeca de Cuba, 42 Salón Nacional de Artistas, #20FotógrafosAmazonas/Tlacotalpan, DRCLAS-Harvard University and MIT. TED speaker. First Prize in Portfolio Review Festival de la Luz-Fotográfica 2015, Buenos Aires and Future Memories-IDARTES. Honorable Mention and finalist of FUTURA Felifa, Feria de Fotolibros de Autor (FOLA/TURMA) Prize. Finalist of FIEBRE Dummy Award 2017, 4th Vienna Photobook Festival in Vienna, 2011-2015 Latino Book Awards in New York and Stiftung Buchkunst in Frankfurt/Leipzig. Selected for #CLAP! Book and #Awake call by @10x10photobook, FLIP Photobook Award 2016 in The Hague and Trasatlántica PhotoEspaña 2010 in Oaxaca. Selected for HYDRA’s Photobook Incubator 2016, México. Worked at Villegas Editores for 5 years. For the last 2, editing his own photobooks (i.e. White Elephant, LUCÍA, Chos Piangua and RUINA/Ruin, London-Gap My Mind). He is also designing other photographers' books. He is publishing his book Colombia, tierra de luz (Land of Light) at the end of the year. Has participated in photography festivals in Istanbul, Venice, Lima, Paraty, Valparaíso, San José, San Salvador, Querétaro, London and Beijing. Santiago has photographed for Villegas Editores, UNHCR, OXFAM, MFO-Egypt, ICIPE-Kenya, Facebook. Ran workshops for Zona Cinco, NatGeoStudentExpeditions, Banco de la República, Don Bosco, Taller de Fotografía Roberto Mata. Director of COLOMBIA, tierra de luz –www.colombialandoflight.org.

Equipments Used for the Project

Camera: X-Pro2, X-T1, X-E2, X100S
Lens: XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS、XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Flash: EF-X8


“Patria o Muerte” reflects on the ambiguity of politics in relation to society, economy and culture in Cuba and Venezuela. The project is structured through symbols and metaphors that represent actual Socialism; the remembrance of Communism; the utopia of the “new man” cuban revolution; and how it has been replicated in Venezuela. It also shows the love-hate relationship to Capitalism; their dependency on others; and their struggle for decades against embargo and isolation, which continues to bring poverty and difficulties in quite a lot aspects of life, infrastructure and commodities. Also presents a view on corruption, use of power and military absolutism, lack of freedom of speech and fear to express feelings. Now, after the death of their leaders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, people are asking themselves: what could happen next?


I visited 8 times Cuba and 2 times Venezuela (+ 1 visit to the border) to produce a visual narrative of the political, social and economical situation of Venezuela and Cuba. I wanted to imprint my personal point of view of the situation by rethinking the stereotypes on how the war-cry “Patria o Muerte” (motherland and death) has been symbolize and photographed.


The photobook “Patria o Muerte”, that will be published in the beginning of 2019 by La Luminosa, wants to represent a manual or notebook. Details as the ringed notebook and stripped sheets, recall the idea of education, school but also doctrine and ideology.

I’ve been working on the edition for almost two years, and it’s based on pairing images, as: Cuba-Venezuela; Cuba-Cuba; and Venezuela-Venezuela. The sequence looks for the atmosphere and dark tones.

The structure of the book is divided in 5 chapter: it begins with a) a revolutionary utopia and hope; b) then continues presenting daily life. In the middle, c) appear the death of leaders Fidel and Chávez; followed by d) ruin and decline of Cuba and Venezuela; and finishing with e) the uncertainty that is coming further.

Read more on “Personal Best”

Vol.1- Flemming Bo Jensen
Vol.2- Pieter D’Hoop
Vol.3- Santiago Escobar-Jarmillo
Vol.4- Stefan Finger
Vol.5- Xyza Cruz Bacani