Que Chiquito es el Mundo
Manuel Alvarez Bravo grew up during the Mexican Revolution (1910−20), a formative period that strengthened his sense of kinship with his homeland. During this time he was introduced to the medium of photography, and he bought his first camera in 1924. Initially working in the Pictorialist tradition, Alvarez Bravo started to experiment with abstract compositions in the late 1920s. In 1927 he befriended the Italian photographer Tina Modotti, who had been living and working in Mexico since 1923, and he later took over her job as a staff photographer at the magazine Mexican Folkways. This post helped him cultivate his own vision, as he developed emblematic themes of Mexican identity blended with unconscious imagery reflecting dreams and chance.
In this photograph, Alvarez Bravo uses the everyday to create a compelling vision of Mexico’s urban landscape. The horizontal expanse of wall centers the layered composition, separating the world above from the one below. Two figures, seemingly unaware of each other, pass on the empty street, while stark white laundry hangs in the domestic space above, its brightness creating a link to the woman’s package below. Despite the solidity of the wall, the passersby and flowing fabric suggest the ephemerality of this fleeting moment.
Gelatin silver print
image: 7 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. (18.4 x 24.1 cm)
sheet: 7 7/8 x 9 7/8 in. (20 x 25.1 cm)
Signed in graphite on lower right of verso: "M. Alvarez Bravo"
Gift of William Berley
This item is not on view
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