Lola Álvarez Bravo and the Photography of an Era
Text by James Oles, Adriana Zavala, Rachael Arauz, Deborah Dorotinsky, Ana Garduńo, Karen Cordero, Cecilia Olivares, Cristóbal Andrés Jácome, Javier Vázquez et al.
Lola Álvarez Bravo was a pioneer of photomontage and a leading figure--along with Frida Kahlo, Tina Modotti, Diego Rivera and others--in Mexico’s post-revolution cultural renaissance. Lola Álvarez Bravo and the Photography of an Era accompanies a touring exhibition presented at the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo in Mexico City, the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California and the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Tucson in Arizona, home of Álvarez Bravo’s archives. It gathers 100 photographs and includes her well-known portraits of Kahlo and Rivera as well as photographs only recently discovered in the González Rendón archive. The selection not only demonstrates the great richness of the material contained in the archive, but also throws new light on Álvarez Bravo’s working methods and provides a deeper understanding of the complexity of her career. The photographs convey her uses of Surrealism and photomontage (many examples of which are published here for the first time), as well as her mastery of various genres, from portraits of famous intellectuals and close friends to documentary images of urban and rural poverty in Mexico.
Born Dolores Martinez de Anda to wealthy parents in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, Lola Álvarez Bravo (1990–1993) was abandoned by her mother in her early youth; following her father’s death, in her teen years she was sent to live with the family of her half-brother in Mexico City. It was here that she met the young Manuel Alvarez Bravo, whom she married in 1925. She received her first commission in 1936, photographing the colonial choir stalls of a former church, and in 1951 she opened an art gallery and was the first person to exhibit the paintings of Frida Kahlo.