Hector Acebes

Hector Acebes, Unidentified Woman, Mali, 1953

Portraits in Africa (1948-1953)

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Biographical Information

(American / Columbian, 1921 – 2017) Hector Acebes was born in New York City in 1921. He was raised in Madrid, Spain, and attended the Colegio del Pilar. His family then moved to Bogotá, Colombia, and he later returned to the United States for high school at the New York Military Academy. Hector gained much of his technical photographic skill by participating in the school’s camera club and through study and practice on his own.

After graduating from the Chauncey Hall School in Boston, he entered Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study engineering. While in college, Hector maintained his own photo studio. During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Germany. On his return, he completed his degree at MIT and then moved with his wife and children to Bogotá.

Throughout the late 1940s and the 1950s, Acebes took expeditions through Africa and South America where he worked as a photographer, and professional filmmaker and lecturer. By the late 1950s, Acebes Productions had established a reputation for creating excellent documentary and industrial films. Acebes wrote, filmed, directed, and edited each of the forty-three films Acebes Productions released.  Many of Hector Acebes photographs are in private and museum collections. A monograph is also available through the gallery, Hector Acebes Portraits in Africa: 1948-1953, published by Marquand Editions of UW Press.