Obituary: Mariana Yampolsky
Williams, Val, The Independent (London, England)
Elegiac photographer of Mexico
"MEXICO IS surprising, forceful; the people, often kind, sometimes brutal. Always graceful. To me, Mexico is light. I must admit that when I get back. Things I usually considered in bad taste moved me as never before. Even the plastic flowers seemed to have character."
Mariana Yampolsky photographed Mexico, its people, its architecture, its objects, for over 50 years. Working firmly within the tradition of Western modernism, she constructed a view of her homeland which was romantic, elegiac, nostalgic perhaps for a rural and vernacular past that was fast disappearing. The Mexico which we see through the eyes of Yampolsky is one with which we are familiar, country people bathed in light, small dwelling places half hidden behind trees, tradespeople, groups of women, a still and rather solemn landscape. Like many of her contemporaries, Yampolsky pictured Mexico as an idyll, far removed from its brash neighbour the United States. It was a revolutionary country with an ancient past, the poverty of its people only emphasising the grandeur of their physical and built surroundings.
Yampolsky, the daughter of a Russian father and a German mother, arrived in Mexico at the age of 19. She travelled from the cold mercantile city of Chicago to find the country which would engage her photographic imagination for the next five decades. A 20th- century cultural adventurer, she perhaps typified the well educated, articulate photographers who, all over the world, were seeking out the simple, the unsullied, the innocent and the undeniably exotic.
In Chicago she had studied humanities at the University of Illinois and in Mexico City, just at the end of the Second World War, she enrolled on an art course at the …
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Publication information: Article title: Obituary: Mariana Yampolsky. Contributors: Williams, Val - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: May 11, 2002. Page number: 20. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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