Academic journal article Afterimage

Manuel Alvarez Bravo, 1902-2002

Academic journal article Afterimage

Manuel Alvarez Bravo, 1902-2002

Article excerpt

Manuel Alvarez Bravo died on Saturday, October 19, 2002 at his residence in Mexico City. Alvarez Bravo was virtually the last surviving artist who had a direct connection to the avant-garde art movements that took place in Mexico during the 1920s and '30s, and for decades, was one of the most highly regarded artists in his country.

Born in Mexico City in 1902, Alvarez Bravo took up photography in the 1920s and came to prominence in the 30s. Through his associations with Tina Modotti, Edward Weston and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alvarez Bravo was introduced to new approaches to photography and a stimulating intellectual circle of outsiders. When Modotti handed over her photography position at Mexico Folkways magazine to Alvarez Bravo in 1930, Alvarez Bravo was able to gain valuable experience photographing the people and particulars of Mexico. Native subjects became the focus of his images and remained so for the rest of his life.

Alvarez Bravo was influenced by Weston's method of isolating and abstracting details from an environment and went on to create images of urban landscapes and Mexican life informed by this aesthetic. Utilizing oppositions of form and meaning, he was able to produce photographs that resonated with mystery and transcended cliched views of Mexican culture. He was commended by Cartier-Bresson for his exaltations of the everyday, and in 1935 the two exhibited their work together.

In the late 1930s Alvarez Bravo taught at San Carlos Academy in Mexico and in 1938, met Andre Breton. …

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