Project 365, Day 167; Photography in Mexico, An Exhibit

Photography in Mexico; currently on exhibit at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

The exhibit begins with the photographs of Edward Weston and Tina Modotti who were commissioned in 1926 by Anita Brenner to photograph the monuments and Mexican decorative art forms that would illustrate her book, which was published in 1929 as Idols Behind Altars. Weston and Modotti’s works are said to have influenced Mexican photographers, especially Manuel Alvarez Bravo, who would go on to become Mexico’s most famous photographer, and also Lola Alvarez Bravo, his first wife.

These two large books of photographs were on a table at the entrance to the exhibit rooms for viewing.

Other photographers featured are Mariana Yampolsky, Graciela Iturbide who created photographs of indigenous communities and people. Pedro Meyer  who focused on Mexico’s middle class and the wealthy, and Pablo Ortiz Monasterio who focuses on Mexico City, the huge city of more than twenty million residents who live amid poverty and crime.

Lourdes Grobet has chosen to focus her photography on not the folklore and indigenous groups, but on the culture of Mexican professional wrestling, known as lucha libre, where the wrestlers always wear a mask;  and it is one of her photos that has been used in advertising the exhibit; it is shown in my photo above.

The exhibit moves on with photography “The Changing Landscape of Contemporary Mexico” that depict Mexico’s cities and suburbs. Photographers in this group include Alejandro Cartagena, Pablo Lopez Luz, Eduardo del Valle and Mirta Gomez; another segment in this group adds the photographs of Katya Brailovsky and Oscar Fernando Gomez, Yvonne Venegas; Daniela Rossell, who photographs Mexico’s wealthiest women in their extravagant homes that are a stark contrast to the poverty that exists in so much of the country.

The exhibit concludes with “Looking Across The Border”, the photography of Mark Klett, Geoffrey James, Alec Soth, Victoria Sambunaris. Elsa Medina, who accompanies migrants on their journey from Tijuana to San Diego,  Susan Meiselas, who accompanies U.S. Border Patrol agents as they track undocumented workers, taking photos of abandoned shelters and border detention centers. Mark Ruwedel’s photographs show the movement of migrants through the desert and the makeshift encampments they leave behind.

Another work in the outer hallway of the Mexico exhibit (I was given permission to take photos here)

Photos by Angeline M


About Angeline M

Love travel and photography. I am a retired nurse case manager. Photos of locations visited are personal file photos.
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7 Responses to Project 365, Day 167; Photography in Mexico, An Exhibit

  1. How stupid of me – of course you weren’t able to photograph the exhibition for us! From your excellent commentary I can see that it will have been fascinating, both in its breadth and detail. Lucky you to be seeing it a second time:)


  2. Would love to see this!
    My favourite Mexican photographers are both women: Daniela Rossell & Graciela Iturbide.
    I’ve written a post about one of Daniela Rossell’s exhibitions:


    • Angeline M says:

      The exhibit began last month, I believe, and I’ve been itching to get in to see it. Saturday was the day, and I’m so glad that I didn’t miss it. In fact, my husband wasn’t able to go with me, so we will be going back together to see it; it runs into the first part of July. I’ve scanned your link on Rosell, thanks for including that. I need to go back in with time and read it slowly.


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