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Manuel Álvarez Bravo

Mexican Photographer | Born: 1902 - Died: 2002

Manuel Álvarez Bravo, One of the founders of modern photography, is considered the main representative of Latin American photography in the 20th century. His work extends from the late 1920s to the 1990s.

Álvarez Bravo was born in downtown Mexico City on February 4, 1902. He left school at the age of twelve in order to begin making a contribution to his family’s finances after his father's death. He worked at a textile factory for a time, and later at the National General Treasury.

Both his grandfather (a painter) and his father were amateur photographers. His early discovery of the camera awakened in him an interest that he would continue to cultivate throughout his life. As a self-taught photographer, he would explore many different techniques, as well as graphic art.

Influenced by his study of painting at the Academy of San Carlos, he embraced pictorialism at first. Then, with the discovery of cubism and all the possibilities offered by abstraction, he began to explore modern aesthetics. He had his initiation into documentary photography in 1930: when she was deported from Mexico, Tina Modotti left him her job at the magazine Mexican Folkways. He also worked for the muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Álvarez Bravo is an emblematic figure from the period following the Mexican Revolution—often called the Mexican Renaissance. It was a time of a creative fertility, owing to the happy—though not always tranquil—marriage between a desire for modernization and the search for an identity with Mexican roots, in which archaeology, history and ethnology played an important role, parallel to the arts. Álvarez Bravo embodied both tendencies in the field of visual arts.

Between 1943 and 1959, he worked in the film industry doing still shots, which inspired him to realize some of his own experiments with cinema.

While he was alive, he held over 150 individual exhibitions and participated in over 200 collective exhibitions. According to several critics, the work of this "poet of the lens" expresses the essence of Mexico. However, the humanist regard reflected in his work, the aesthetic, literary and musical references it contains, likewise endow with a truly universal dimension.

He died on October 19, 2002, at the age of one hundred.

Source: www.manuelalvarezbravo.org

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Author: Gerardo Mosquera, Ivan de la Nue, Catherine David
Publisher: T.F. Editores, S.L.C
Year: 2012 - Pages: 240
With a career that spans nearly eighty years, Manuel Alvarez Bravo has long been recognized as one of the foremost figures in the history of photography and one of the great Mexican artists of the twentieth century. Manuel Álvarez Bravo, a pioneer of art photography in Mexico, is a cornerstone of Mexican culture and twentieth-century Latin-American photography. His work ranges from late 1920 to the 90s. Álvarez Bravo's artistic identity is inextricably linked to the history of his country and the creation of Mexican identity after the revolution of 1910. Thus, his work can be understood both as a reflection of the extraordinary variety of cultures in Mexico as an eccentric drift of surreal avante-garde.
 
Photopoetry
Author: Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Year: 2008 - Pages: 336
Manuel Alvarez Bravo was one of the foremost practitioners of visual arts in the twentieth century. Manuel Alvarez Bravo, the first major retrospective of his eighty-year career, showcases hundreds of iconic photographs and unveils more than twenty previously unpublished images. Featuring landscapes, still lifes, rural and urban scenes, religious and vernacular subjects, as well as portraits of luminaries such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Carlos Fuentes, and Octavio Paz, the work is chronologically arranged and richly varied. Three illuminating essays reveal the poetry of Bravo's photographsfrom his use of light and form to his fascination with dreams and his preoccupation with death. This definitive monograph is a powerful tribute to Mexico's most distinguished photographer.
 
Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Masters of Photography Series
Author: Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Publisher: Aperture
Year: 2005 - Pages: 96
Manuel Alvarez Bravo began photographing in 1924 during Mexico's thriving post-revolutionary artistic renaissance. While his early work embraced Mexico's urban realities, its peasants and workers, and its hauntingly beautiful landscape, Alvarez Bravo's ever-present acknowledgment of the macabre prompted André Breton, the leader of Surrealism in France, to claim him as an exponent of the movement. This volume offers a perfect introduction to his works.
 
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