Professor Folgarait explores the work of four photographers — and their critical and different roles — as they each helped to define a national identity for Mexico during 25 tumultuous years of revolution and post-revolution, from 1910 to 1935.

This book is not easy or light reading, but for those who value historical and political context, it provides a learned approach to comprehending how these four photographers shaped public perception about the history of Mexico.

In his introduction, Folgarait writes:

Photographs are quotations of time, edits out of the historical whole, seeming to picture events only. I want to suggest that they also picture conditions. How the Revolution changed from an event of some precise duration to a condition, an image, of infinite historical extension, is strongly related to the behavior of photography.

The four photographers are chosen with good reason. Agustin Victor Casasola and the American Walter H. Horne are regarded as documentary photographers, working around 1910-1915. Tina Modotti, arriving in Mexico from Italy by way of the United States, produced work intended to be explicitly political and propagandist. Manuel Alvarez Bravo is known for his poetic photographs that are usually thought of as introspective or even surrealist musings. Folgarait finds different conclusions when he views them in light of history and context.

— Jim Casper


Seeing Mexico Photographed:
The Work of Horne, Casasola,
Modotti and Álvarez Bravo
by Leonard Folgarait
Hardcover: 208 pages
7.5 x 10 in
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300140927
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