Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Why is this beautiful young woman not bathed in a flood of light, illuminating her youth and her pleasure? Because she is a prisoner in the tower. For what pretender prince did this dark Rapunzel let down her hair? Or for what terrific sacrifice is she preparing herself, to placate what cruel spirit? Is it the fringe of her shawl, behind her on the floor, or a scuttling crab?
Manuel Alvarez Bravo was born in the City of Mexico, behind the cathedral, near the place where the temples of the ancient Mexican gods once stood. Diego Rivera said of his photographs that they were Mexican in their format, their content, and their cause, and that they were therefore full of irony and anguish.
Or think of all the pictures of young woman with mirrors, all asking the same questions: Is my beauty immortal? Or asking, like the ancient Mexican poet, "Will I not leave anything of myself behind me on this earth?"
from "Looking at Photographs" by John Szarkowski
The exhibition organized by Fundacion MAPFRE and the accompanying catalogue, runs through 150 photographs, a limited number of iconographic motifs of his work: reflections and illusions of the big city, bodies lying converted into shapes, objects of ambiguous meanings, a wide panoramic that shows his rejection to easy picturesque, his irony insistently ambiguous, and his ability to convert images into symbols beyond the poetic realism typical of Mexican culture.
Manuel Alvarez Bravo the first major retrospective of his eighty-year career showcases hundreds of iconic photographs and unveils more than twenty previously unpublished images. Three illuminating essays reveal the poetry of Bravo's photographsofrom his use of light and form to his fascination with dreams and his preoccupation with death. This definitive monograph is a powerful tribute to Mexico's most distinguished photographer.
The majority of this volume's 175 tritone plates were made from rare vintage prints assembled from private collections or furnished by the artist; many have never before been published and some have not been seen or exhibited since the 1930s. This volume was published in conjunction with a 1997 exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Photographs and Memories presents an intimate portrait of Mexico's revered photographer and, with his most beloved images, includes a selection of little-known work chosen with the photographer specifically for this classic monograph.
- A photographer's main instrument is his eyes. Strange as it may seem, many photographers choose to use the eyes of another photographer, past or present, instead of their own. Those photographers are blind.