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Alvarez Bravo, Manuel
Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902- 2002) was a Mexican photographer.
Álvarez Bravo was born in Mexico City in 1902. He came from a family of artists, and met several other prominent artists who encouraged his work when he was young, including Tina Modotti and Diego Rivera.
He studied painting and music at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1918, but did not begin experimenting with photography until the mid 1920's. Though he was never formally a member of the surrealist movement, his work displays many characteristics of surrealism, and he was exposed to many of its founders. His work often suggests dreams or fantasies, and he frequently photographed inanimate objects in ways that gave them humanistic qualities.
His work bears some similarity to the work of Clarence John Laughlin, an American photographer who was working in New Orleans at around the same time. They both loved literature, and made references to the mythologies of their time visually and in the titles of their images. They both used old-fashioned cameras which were slower than the Leica which were becoming popular among other art photographers of the day. They also both knew Edward Weston, so it is possible that they influenced each other's work.
Álvarez Bravo's work was often political, referencing the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution both directly and indirectly. One of his most famous photographs, Obrero en huelga, asesinado (Striking Worker, Assassinated) depicts the face of a bloodied corpse laying in the sun. He associated with many revolutionary artists and writers, but did not let politics overwhelm the personal aspects of his work; he continued to create beautiful, dreamlike, photographs of life in Mexico until his death in 2002.
He is considered a profoundly influential figure in contemporary Mexican and Latin American Photography, and his work is widely published around the world.
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