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Article

Isobel Whitelegg

revised by Laura Gonzalez

[née Martínez de Anda, Dolores ]

(b Largos de Moreno, Jalisco, Apr 3, 1907; d Mexico City, Jul 31, 1993).

Mexican photographer. Born in Lagos de Moreno in the northern state of Jalisco, Martínez lived her first years in Guadalajara. After her parents’ separation in 1910, she moved to Mexico City with her father and brother. After her father’s sudden death in 1916, she was adopted by an older half-brother who sent her to a Catholic boarding school. At 18 she married a young friend and neighbor, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, who was then working at the Ministry of Finance as an accountant. In 1925 he was offered a better post in the southern city of Oaxaca, where the couple moved. Manuel started producing “weekend photographs” and Lola acted as his lab assistant. With Manuel’s camera, she started to produce her first photographs. On returning to Mexico City in 1927, she gave birth to a son, Manuel, and continued to assist her husband in the first stages of his career as a photographer. The couple displayed an active social agenda in the post-revolutionary cultural movement, sharing projects with friends who included Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, María Izquierdo, Julio Castellanos, Frances Toor, Tina Modotti, Luis Cardoza y Aragón, and some of the “Contemporáneos” (Xavier Villaurrutia, Carlos Mérida, Salvador Novo, and Carlos Pellicer). The Álvarez Bravos opened an informal gallery at their home in Tacubaya in ...

Article

Mexican, 20th century, male.

Born 4 February 1902, in Mexico City; died 19 October 2002, in Mexico City.

Photographer, photojournalist.

Originally working as a copy clerk, Manuel Alvarez Bravo experienced a dramatic shift in his life trajectory when his father gave him a camera in ...

Article

Elizabeth Ferrer

(b Mexico City, Feb 4, 1902; d Mexico City, Oct 19, 2002).

Mexican photographer. Álvarez Bravo’s interest in photography began in his adolescence while living in Mexico City in the 1910s, the years of the Mexican Revolution. He left school at the age of 13 to help support his family but pursued his creative interests by studying foreign photography magazines and receiving instruction from the German photographer based in Mexico, Hugo Brehme. Álvarez Bravo’s earliest images, made with a large-format Graflex camera, reflected the romantic pictorialist mode identified with Brehme’s generation. By 1925, however, he turned to a modernist aesthetic inspired by the photographs Edward Weston made in Mexico in the mid-1920s as well as those of Tina Modotti, who accompanied Weston and remained in the country until 1930. During this era Álvarez Bravo came to know Modotti as well as the artists who led Mexico’s cultural renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Rufino Tamayo. Also central to this circle was ...

Article

Cuban, 20th century, male.

Active in France since 1992.

Born 8 September 1934, in Havana.

Painter, draughtsman, graphic designer, film maker.

Armas studied Cuban archaeology, and rupestrian art in particular. He was a caricaturist at first, then a graphic designer and film maker. He established the cartoon department at the Cuban institute of cinematic arts. He won several prizes for this work. In ...

Article

Gustavo Navarro-Castro

(b Caracas, 1952).

Venezuelan photographer. He was self-taught and dedicated himself to photography from 1972, first working for the magazine Escena (1974–6) and then for the Galería de Arte Nacional in Caracas (1976–8). His first exhibition, Acercamiento a Zitman, was held at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Sofía Imber, Caracas, in ...

Article

Julieta Ortiz Gaitán

(b Mexico City, April 25, 1944).

Mexican photographer. She studied art at the Universidad Motolinía and at the Universidad Anáhuac, both in Mexico City, and undertook specialist studies at the Club Fotográfico de México. Ascher’s work showed the influence of such photographers as Yousuf Karsh, Sam Haskins (b 1926) and Richard Avedon, but it was also more generally stimulated by the work of Eugène Atget, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She made frequent trips to New York, where she acquired experience from photographers and artists that not only enriched her own visual concepts but also the technical aspects of her work. Ascher consolidated her position in Mexican photography through her work, particularly in the acute sensitivity of her many portraits of personalities from the artistic and cultural world. Her series of José Luis Cuevas and Juan Rulfo are among her most outstanding works. After several years of work she collected the material that was published as ...

Article

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Born 14 May 1905, in Rosario (Santa Fé); died 13 October 1981, in Buenos Aires.

Painter, sculptor, engraver, collage artist, photomontage artist, assemblage artist. Figure compositions, landscapes, portraits, still-lifes, scenes with figures.

Nouvelle Figuration, Figuration Narrative.

Nuevo Realismo Group.

Berní was the son of Italian immigrants in Argentina. His childhood and early youth were marked by destitution. In 1915, when his father died, he went to live with his grandmother, where he had to travel 10 kilometres (six miles) on horseback to get to school every morning. From 1916, he was able to study stained glass window technique and attend a drawing course for young people. He was then influenced by the Post-Impressionism of the Spaniard, Joaquín Sorolla. He began to exhibit in 1918.From 1921 to 1924, he abandoned his studies and went to live among the peasants of the Pampa, where he painted landscapes. In 1925, he won a scholarship that enabled him to travel to Europe, where he stayed first in Madrid, then settled in Paris, where he frequented the studios of André Lhote and Othon Friesz at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Montparnasse and discovered the painting of Picasso, Braque and de Chirico. In 1928, still in Paris, he met the Surrealists, associating mainly with Aragon; he did not formally join the movement but he immersed himself in the psychological atmosphere of the group and its Marxist commitment. He read Marx, Engels and Lenin, and met Henri Lefebvre. His painting was influenced by his Surrealist friendships, particularly in the series of photomontages and collages that he embarked on in 1929. In 1930, he returned to Argentina, where he studied further and was still able in 1932 to exhibit his Surrealist paintings of 1929-1931, in which he had mainly applied Lautréamont's formula concerning encounters with random objects.On his return, he had founded the ...

Article

Camara Dia Holloway

[Smikle, David Edward]

(b Queens, NY, Nov 25, 1953).

African American photographer. Bey was born and raised in the neighborhood of Jamaica, in Queens, New York City. His interest in photography was cemented by viewing the now infamous exhibition, Harlem on My Mind, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1969. He studied at the School of Visual Arts during 1976–8, later earning his BFA from Empire State College, State University of New York in 1990, followed by his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1993.

Bey launched his career in 1975 with the Harlem, USA series, following in the footsteps of street photographers who found the predominantly African American community a compelling subject. This series of black-and-white portraits became the subject of Bey’s first solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979.

During the 1980s, Bey continued making portraits expanding his terrain beyond Harlem. Sensitive to the politics of representing African Americans, he developed strategies to equalize the photographic encounter. Bey began using a large-format view camera on a tripod that he set up in the street. He established a dialogue with his sitters and gifted them with a print of their portrait. This was facilitated by his discovery of 4×5 Polaroid positive/negative Type 55 film that yielded virtually instant prints....

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Surrey, Feb 16, 1931).

Brazilian photographer and film maker of English birth. Having moved to Brazil, she studied painting with André Lhote in Paris (1953–4) and with the American painter Morris Kantor (b 1896) at the Art Students’ League in New York (1954–6), before deciding to become a photographer; after 1962 she worked as a freelance photojournalist and film maker. In 1970 a Guggenheim Fellowship enabled her to go to Brazil, where she settled. She began to take an interest in the Indian inhabitants, and as a result spent years working with the Xingu in the Amazon region, creating an important visual record of the Amazon Indians at a time when their culture was increasingly threatened. In 1975 this work brought her the Critics’ Prize at the São Paulo Biennale. In 1979 her illustrated book Xingu Tribal Territory appeared. Among her films were A João Guimarães Rosa (...

Article

Manuel Cirauqui

(b Mexico City, 1981).

Mexican conceptual artist. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bonillas started his career before, and instead of, undertaking an official fine arts education. Widely and internationally exhibited before he reached age 20, his work began with highly analytical studies of ordinary photographic procedures such as printing (in his foundational piece, Trabajos fotográficos, 1998) or pressing the shutter (Diez cámaras documentadas acústicamente, 1998).

Bonillas’s work investigates the materiality and semiotic depth of the photographic medium in a somewhat topographic manner: starting, and never ending, in a periphery that stands ambiguously as both the material margins of photography as well as its self-reflective dimension. However, the “peripheral” nature of Bonillas’s inquiry quickly reveals itself as a strategy to address core aspects of a medium whose substance lies, precisely, on its surface. As the artist exerts infinite variations on generic aspects of the photographic practice, alternately related to structure and meaning (primary colors, family photographs, erasures, captioning, fiction, archival habits, etc.), he delivers a paradox with each of his works. In them, background becomes foreground, face becomes pigment, anecdote becomes the main theme, stain becomes signature, and vice versa....

Article

Elva Peniche Montfort

(b Guadalajara, Mar 22, 1939; d Mexico City, Dec 3, 2003).

Mexican photographer. His work combines the production of documentary images with artistic experimentation. In Mexico he pioneered the expressive use of color photography, three-dimensional supports, non-traditional printing techniques, photomontages, and large formats, as well as the creation of “environments.” Unlike most of his colleagues, Bostelmann had formal training in photography. He received a scholarship to study at the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Photographie in Munich (1958–1960), where he first came into contact with such movements as subjective photography. Upon his return to Mexico in 1960 he began working as a professional, developing twin careers as an artist and as a commercial photographer in the fields of advertising and industrial and artwork photography, where he created images of great technical and aesthetic value.

In 1970 he published América: Un viaje a través de la injusticia (“America: A journey through injustice”), one of the first Latin American photobooks ever to be printed. The book is consistent with the rhetoric of social criticism that was dominant in photography at the time. It comprises a selection of images that he took during his travels through Mexico and Central and South America, unified by a strong and consistent aesthetic approach. Bostelmann was one of the first photographers to exhibit his work in museums traditionally oriented towards painting and sculpture (such as the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City). He was also one of the first to send an exhibition abroad, as in the case of ...

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Eisenach, 1882; d Mexico City, 1954).

German photographer, active in Mexico. As a young man he travelled through Africa, taking photographs; an archive of some of these glass plates survives. He reached Mexico by way of Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala, and took his first Mexican photographs in the Yucatán peninsula. He then opened a studio in Mexico City and, together with Augustín Victor Casasola, became one of the most important photographers of the Revolution (1910–17). What he loved most, however, was the beauty of the Mexican landscape. His book Malerisches Mexico was published by Ernst Wachsmuth in Germany in 1923, the same year in which he collaborated with Manuel Alvarez Bravo, later to become Mexico’s leading photographer. Brehme’s photography was not merely reportage. He sought to capture the spirit of the country rather than isolated events as, for example, in his photograph of Pancho Villa’s horsemen, each in direct eye-contact with the photographer. In this he was inspired by José Guadalupe Posada, who was one of the first artists to capture the Mexican temperament in his woodcuts. Occasionally, indeed, Posada worked from photographs by Brehme and by Casasola. More than most foreigners, Brehme was able to feel real empathy with Mexico, and he became an impressive interpreter not only of its customs and traditions, but also of its historical monuments and festivals....

Article

Cruz Barceló Cedeño

(b Río, Sucre, March 20, 1945).

Venezuelan photographer. He took courses in cinema at the Ateneo in Caracas, where his interest in photography began. After winning second prize in the National Salon of Photography, he went to Rome on a scholarship to study at the Centro de Adiestramiento Profesional ‘Don Orione’. His black-and-white photographic work is distinctive in its capturing of physical details and gestures of people in the street, such as their hands, feet and faces, obliging the spectator to complete the figure with his imagination; examples include ...

Article

Jocelyn Fraillon Gray

(b Morges, Vaud, March 3, 1814; d Melbourne, Victoria, May 30, 1888).

Swiss painter, lithographer and photographer, active in Brazil and Australia. He attended a drawing school in Lausanne, where his teacher may have been Marc-Louis Arlaud (1772–1845), and is thought to have spent some time with the landscape painter Camille Flers in Paris c. 1836 en route to Bahia (Salvador), Brazil. In 1840 he moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he established himself as a painter of local views and exhibited with the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, Rio. His Brazilian landscapes, of which the View of Gamboa (1852; Rio de Janeiro, Mus. N. B.A.) is an example, received critical acclaim for their vivacious lighting. As a photographer he fulfilled commissions in daguerreotype for Emperor Peter II, and with the figure painter Auguste Moreau he produced a set of 18 lithographs, Picturesque Rio de Janeiro, published in 1843–4. From 1852 to 1864 he worked as a portrait photographer in Switzerland and from ...

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Yarumal, 1869; d Medellín, 1934).

Colombian photographer. After studying photography with Emiliano Mejía, he established a photographic studio in Yarumal in 1898, working there until his move in 1903 to Medellín. He added the prefixes to his surname, Calle, to declare his identification with other people ‘of the street’: nonconformists, bohemians and those marginalized by society. He openly aligned himself with the underprivileged social classes in his photographs, stating his opposition to the arbitrary and vengeful aspects of his society by recording some of the most moving events of his day, including the last executions by firing squad to take place in Colombia. This series included photographs of prisoners awaiting their deaths while facing their coffins and as bullet-ridden corpses.

De la Calle was also an exceptional portraitist, usually of anonymous and unsophisticated people to whom he gave great dignity, such as proudly barefooted peasants who boldly displayed the instruments and tools of their work. He sometimes presented his figures with elements such as revolvers and cartridge belts to indicate his political and social rebellion. Through such perceptive images he recorded the urban, industrial and commercial development of Medellín....

Article

Sérgio B. Martins

(b Rio de Janeiro, Jul 11, 1970).

Brazilian painter and photographer. Camargo was formally trained at the Escola de Belas-Artes (EBA) of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in the late 1990s, and is best known for her pictorial meditations on urban and cinematic landscapes.

The EBA was an artistically conservative institution during Camargo’s tenure as a student, but she was nevertheless able to develop a visual language that differed from the school’s general preference for academic and early modernist styles. She was part of a group of students who concentrated on issues of urban experience and visual culture in Rio de Janeiro. Unlike most of her classmates, though, who engaged mostly with the multimedia language of urban intervention, Camargo remained a painter, with sporadic forays into photography and photocollage.

The mediated image plays a crucial role in her painting, as Camargo often reread fragments of urban imagery through the lens of cinematography. Filmmakers Andrei Tarkovsky and Werner Herzog are two of her most recurrent references. Camargo’s cinematic approach is most evident in her first solo show ...

Article

Isobel Whitelegg

(b La Vega, Mantanzas, 1959).

Cuban painter, photographer, installation and performance artist, active also in the USA. Campos-Pons studied at the Higher Institute of Art, Havana (1980–85). Initially a painter, her graduation show Acoplamientos (1985; Havana, HIA) was concerned with representations of the female body as a device for prohibition and control, and her early work focused on the role of women in society and their representation within the history of art. In 1988 she went to the USA as a visiting artist at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and in 1991 she settled permanently in Boston. Using shaped canvases, her first works displayed an interest in the interrelationship between painting and three-dimensional media. While living in the USA she also expanded her interest in sculpture and installation to include elements of video and performance.

Living abroad also brought her relationship to Cuba into sharper relief; work produced in the early 1990s addressed her own displacement in relation to the enforced migration of her ancestors as slaves, and the way in which an imagined Africa is collectively created in contemporary Cuba by story-telling, the cultivation of traditional medicinal plants and the practice of the Afro-Caribbean Santería religion. Using performance and video as a form of self-portraiture, another aspect of her practice focuses on her attempt to build a coherent identity as an Afro-Cuban woman living in the USA. With the aim of achieving simultaneity between performance and its immediate capture in the production of an unalterable image, her self-portraits employ large-format colour Polaroid photography, as in the diptych ...

Article

(b Mexico City, Jul 28, 1874; d Mexico City, Mar 30, 1938).

Mexican photographer, journalist, and collector. Casasola initially studied typography before becoming a reporter in 1894. He probably began taking photographs to illustrate his articles and in 1902 traveled to Veracruz to photograph a tour by President Porfirio Díaz. Newspapers that publicly criticized Díaz or his government were often harassed or closed, thus articles and their illustrations often focused exclusively on positive aspects of Mexican life, such as the development of infrastructure, the growth of trade, and the pastimes of the elites living in Mexico City (see Monasterio 2003, 32–41). At the same time, Casasola sometimes photographed scenes of everyday life, traveling, for example, to haciendas near Mexico City to photograph the peasant farmworkers. In these images he took care, lest he attract the ire of the government, to avoid any display of the harsh conditions that characterized life for the majority of Mexicans outside of the capital.

In 1905 Agustín and his brother Miguel were both working as photographers for ...

Article

W. Iain Mackay

(b Carhuás, Ancash, Oct 2, 1857; d San Miguel de Tucumán, Dec 1922).

Peruvian painter, photographer, teacher and critic. At the age of four he was brought to Lima, where he began to take lessons in art. From 1885 he travelled through France, Italy and Belgium, and on returning to Latin America he settled in Buenos Aires, where he took up photography. In 1905 he returned to Lima, where he set up a workshop and art college at the Quinta Heeren, introducing the latest photographic techniques. On visiting Spain in 1908 Castillo discovered the historical genre paintings of Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, and once back in Lima worked as a painter and as art critic for the magazines Prisma, Variedades, Actualidades and Ilustración peruana. He later supported Daniel Hernández in founding (1919) the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Lima (see also Peru, Republic of, §XI). In parallel with the writer Ricardo Palma, Castillo was concerned with recording the traditions of Lima’s colonial past, and such paintings as the ...

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Coaza, nr Puno, 1891; d Cuzco, 1973).

Peruvian photographer. The only major photographer of Latin American Indian origin in his time, he gained international recognition only after his death. As a boy he was fascinated by photography, about which he learnt in the studio of Max T. Vargas in Arequipa in 1908. In 1920 he opened a studio in Cuzco, which became the base for his examination of Inca culture. Like the radical intellectuals of the ‘indigenous’ movement with which he was associated, he believed that his country’s true spirit lay with the Indian population. He was motivated, however, not just by documentary concerns but by pictorial ones; his experimentation with light sources can be directly related to his interest in Rembrandt’s paintings. His growing posthumous reputation is largely due to the work of his son, Victor Chambi (b 1917), who on his father’s death began printing some of his 18,000 glass negatives.

Chambi, Martín...