The Man from Papantla
1934-1935, printed 1977
Gelatin silver print
Image: 9 5/16 x 7 3/16 in.
Sheet: 10 x 7 15/16 in.
l.r.: signed in graphite: M. Alvarez Bravo. \ Mexico.
l.r. in graphite: 78/100
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Gift of R. G. Nichols
© Manuel Alvarez Bravo
In 1927, Álvarez Bravo met Tina Modotti, who introduced the young, mostly self-taught photographer to important artists including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Rufino Tamayo. At the time, Mexico City was a thriving cultural hub; this as well as the energy and supportive arts culture of the post-Revolution years attracted foreign artists, many of whom admired Álvarez Bravo, including André Breton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Paul Strand.
Álvarez Bravo’s art showed the influence of the international styles of the time, including cubism, surrealism, and documentary photography, but it was uniquely his own, deeply rooted in the culture and people of Mexico and often gesturing to metaphorical icons or primal forces. This image is a quiet, formal portrait of a man from a rural region with a large population of Totonac people, which may be why he appears tense and suspicious standing in the country’s capital.
—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)