Álvarez Bravo, Manuel (1912–2002)

views updated

Álvarez Bravo, Manuel (1912–2002)

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (b. 4 February 1912; d. 19 October, 2002), Mexican photographer. Álvarez Bravo grew up in Mexico City in a family closely associated with the local artistic scene. In his youth, he associated with well-known photographers and painters, such as Diego Rivera. Self-taught in the art of photography, Álvarez has practiced the profession since 1923. In the 1930s, he began to capture on film the works of the Mexican muralists and other scenes of Mexican cultural life. Soon after his first exhibition, in 1932, his photographs were discovered by the international art community. Probably his most famous photograph, Obrero en huelga, asesinado (Striking worker, assassinated, 1934), depicts the body of a dead worker, covered in blood. This famous image tackles the politics of the time, but many of his photographs explore the nuances and contradictions of daily life in Mexico. While Álvarez Bravo picked up on nationalistic themes coming out of the Mexican Revolution, he did not present stereotypical images of Mexican culture. For instance, he photographed peasants, but the images reflected individualism rather than the standard themes of oppression and poverty. Álvarez Bravo has exhibited his work in museums and galleries all over the world. He was awarded the National Prize for Art in 1975, and has been the recipient of numerous other national and international awards for photography. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Arts.

Álvarez Bravo uses black and white film; his themes are creativity and beauty, and he is known for his portraits of famous as well as common people, and urban and rural scenes of a changing Mexico. He is one of the most renowned Latin American photographers.

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century; Photography: 1900–1990; Rivera, Diego.


Luis Reyes De La Maza, El cine sonoro en México (1973).

E. Bradford Burns, Latin American Cinema: Film and History (1975).

Carl J. Mora, Mexican Cinema: Reflections of a Society: 1896–1980 (1982).

John King, Magical Reels: A History of Cinema in Latin America (1990).

Additional Bibliography

Debroise, Olivier. Mexican Suite: A History of Photography in Mexico. Translated by Stella de Sá Rego. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.

García Krinsky, Emma Cecilia, Rosa Casanova, and Claudia Canales. Imaginarios y fotografía en México: 1839–1970. Barcelona, Spain: Lunweg, 2005.

Kismaric, Susan. Manuel Álvarez Bravo. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1997.

                                          David Maciel

About this article

Álvarez Bravo, Manuel (1912–2002)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article