From: Martin Reis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 10/20/02-12:35:58 PM Z
The world was a better place because of what he saw.
From: Eric Nelson [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 20, 2002 14:28
Subject: Mexican Photographer Alvarez Bravo Dies at 100
Mexican Photographer Alvarez Bravo Dies at 100
October 19, 2002 05:20 PM ET
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Famed Mexican photographer
Manuel Alvarez Bravo, best known for his dream-like
evocations of longing and solitude in everyday Mexican
settings, died on Saturday of natural causes,
officials said. He was 100.
Alvarez Bravo, recently honored with retrospectives of
his work in Los Angeles, Mexico City and Paris, died
on Saturday morning in his home in Mexico City, a
spokeswoman for the government's National Fine Arts
His images of street scenes, signs and vendors have
been likened to those of Paris photographer Eugene
Atget, and his work also has been called modernist and
surrealist, influenced by a group of foreign
photographers who lived in Mexico in the 1920s and
1930s, including Henri Cartier-Bresson.
"My work is completely natural and spontaneous,"
Alvarez Bravo told Reuters in an interview in January.
He sought to capture in his photos "life itself,
natural reactions and human character -- people's way
of being, walking and expressing themselves."
The promise of a new, post-war idealistic order in the
1920s and 1930s attracted to Mexico the likes of
Russian film maker Sergei Eisenstein, French
surrealist writer Andre Breton and photographers
including Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Tina Modotti and
This was also post-revolution Mexico, where a band of
politically active local artists led by Diego Rivera,
David Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco was splashing
public buildings with murals about class struggle and
themes of Mexican history, identity and customs.
Against this backdrop, Alvarez Bravo taught himself
photography. He went on to win several amateur
contests and in 1931 left his desk job at the Finance
Ministry to pursue his passion for photography full
He traveled throughout Mexico to take photographs for
Mexican Folkways magazine, an assignment that resulted
in some of his most poetic images of Mexican life and
The 1930s and 1940s were Alvarez Bravo's busiest
years, producing stirring works that explored
surrealist themes of sleep, dreams, death and the
erotic as embodied in the 1939 photograph "Good
Reputation Sleeping," showing a nude woman partially
wrapped in bandages and lying on a blanket surrounded
by cactus buds.
This period also produced works such as "Striking
Worker Murdered," taken in 1934 while traveling with
Eisenstein in southeast Mexico. The photo shows the
body of a leader of striking sugar mill workers,
killed during a demonstration.
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