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Paul Strand in Mexico
Text by James Krippner, Alfonso Morales.
Paul Strand in Mexico tells the story of the photographer's journeys through Mexico in the early 1930s. In search of a fresh start, Strand traveled to Mexico City in late 1932 at the invitation of Carlos Chavez, the eminent Mexican composer and conductor. The work he created during this key period reflects a time of intense productivity, creative renewal, and the evolution of Strand's foundational idea of the "collective portrait," in which he depicted a region through photographs of individuals, still lifes and studies of architecture and religious subjects. The first publication to chronicle this pivotal time in Strand's career (1932-34), Paul Strand in Mexico demonstrates how, through his photographic studies and work in film, Strand deepened his involvement with Mexican art, society, and revolutionary politics. Shedding new light on this little-known chapter of Strand's life, a scholarly analysis by James Krippner (Associate Professor of History at Haverford College, Pennsylvania) brings together primary research from distinguished archives and institutions in both Mexico and the United States, and Mexican photo-historian Alfonso Morales contributes an essay contextualizing this remarkable body of work within the canon of Mexican photography and film of the 1930s. Additionally, the appendix serves as the catalogue raisonné of Strand's entire photographic output in Mexico. The culmination of Strand's time in Mexico was his collaboration with Emilio Gomez Muriel and Academy Award-winning director Fred Zinnemann on the groundbreaking film, Redes (The Wave) (1936). A remastered DVD version of the film is included with this essential volume.
Paul Strand (1890-1976) is one of the great photographers of the twentieth century. As a youth, he studied under Lewis Hine at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, going on to draw acclaim from such illustrious sources as Alfred Stieglitz. After World War II, Strand traveled around the world--from New England to Ghana to France to the Outer Hebrides--to photograph, and in the process created a dynamic and significant body of work.
Featured image is from Paul Strand in Mexico, published by Aperture and Fundación Televisa.
FROM THE BOOK
"This is a book about history, images, and the idiosyncrasies of personal experience…Though his passage through Mexico was relatively brief, Strand played a crucial role in constructing a remarkable--though inevitably partial--visual archive reflecting the ideological constructs and political struggles of that era…This was a crucially formative moment in Strand’s artistic evolution. In Mexico, his longstanding efforts to synthesize art and social documentary photography matured as he sought to create a probing investigation into the very soul of a place…By the time Strand arrived in Mexico, he was a staunch proponent of 'straight photography'--that is, photography without technical manipulation…Through his meticulous attention to detail, Strand undoubtedly sought to express something so honest and specific that it would take on universal meaning…Photographs and other images inevitably encode multiple meanings, depending on the perceptions of observers, as well as on contexts of production, timing, circulation, and display. Of course, they also provide a record of what happened and who was there…The protagonists of the story are no longer with us, Strand's images and film are here, and will remain, to provoke and inspire us long into the future."
James Krippner, excerpted from his text to Paul Strand in Mexico.
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