(Also: Happy centenary, teacher Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar!)
Echeverri photographed himself for more than 20 years in a Photo Japan and elevated the self-portrait to an unknown level. He was part of the tribe of Rembrandt and Van Gogh in his obsession with self-portraits; only he was the man with a thousand faces. In the photos of him there is always an unknown personality day after day. He appeared bald or with long hair, with a mustache, with a nerdy student jacket, with a gang member’s sleeve shirt or with a Bolivian hat. He talked about identity and the obsession with seeing ourselves in a photo long before the world became obsessed with cell phone selfies.
His work –beyond his classic piece– always revolved around himself as the main character in a story with many faces. He was photographed as Batman, as Superman or as a Wonder Woman with a downward-pointing mustache. “He was a perfectionist, intelligent and generous; he didn’t mince words either, ”recalls Poveda. People who knew him said that he loved to travel. He was looking for residences all over the world and, during a stay in New York, he befriended one of the giants of world photography, the German Wolfgang Tillmans, who hired him as part of his work team.
“In the hospital they didn’t let him take a picture,” recalls Poveda, “until the last day he wanted to continue with his work.” Gallerist Steven Guberek – who had an exhibition scheduled with him in October – also remembers the same scene: his desire to have his picture taken in the hospital. “The series that he had prepared was about rock guitarists: he took on the personality of more than 40”. And he remembers that, just in a couple of days, he had an exhibition at the Museum of Art and History of Guanajuato and at another institution in that city.