Manuel Álvarez Bravo was a teenager when he first picked up a camera and began taking pictures, before he enrolled in night classes in painting at the Academia San Carlos, in 1917, or sought instruction in the darkroom of local German photographer Hugo Brehme. Initially self-taught, Álvarez Bravo’s style developed through study of foreign and local photography journals. In these pages, he first encountered the work of Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, who came to Mexico in 1923; the latter became a close colleague and supporter, introducing Álvarez Bravo to the artists of Mexico’s avant-garde, including Diego Rivera, Frida Khalo, and Rufino Tamayo, as well as encouraging him to send photographs to Weston.

In the 1930s, Álvarez Bravo met Paul Strand, traveling with him while he worked in Mexico, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. With Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans he exhibited in a three-man show at the Julien Levy Gallery, New York, in 1935. Mexico was a cultural hub for many in the international avant-garde in these years; André Breton visited, including Álvarez Bravo in the Exposition of Surrealism he organized in 1940 in Mexico City. Although the artist never identified with Surrealism, it was a major theme in the analysis of his pictures throughout his career. Revealing the influence of his formative years following the Mexican Revolution of 1910, Álvarez Bravo would instead speak of his interest in representing the cultural heritage, peasant population, and indigenous roots of the Mexican people in the face of rapid modernization.

Introduction by Mitra Abbaspour, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, 2014
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Introduction
Manuel Álvarez Bravo (February 4, 1902 – October 19, 2002, age 100) was Mexico’s first principal artistic photographer and is the most important figure in 20th-century Latin American photography. He was born and raised in Mexico City. While he took art classes at the Academy of San Carlos, his photography is self-taught. His career spanned from the late 1920s to the 1990s with its artistic peak between the 1920s to the 1950s. His hallmark as a photographer was to capture images of the ordinary but in ironic or surrealistic ways. His early work was based on European influences, but he was soon influenced by the Mexican muralism movement and the general cultural and political push at the time to redefine Mexican identity. He rejected the picturesque, employing elements to avoid stereotyping. Over his career he had numerous exhibitions of his work, worked in the Mexican cinema and established Fondo Editorial de la Plástica Mexicana publishing house. He won numerous awards for his work, mostly after 1970.
Wikidata
Q712262
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Introduction
Alvarez Bravo's unique photography combined Mexican subject matter with influences from foreign artists. He was an instrumental figure, along with the painters Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, in the artistic renaissance in Mexico that flourished after the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1921. The J. Paul Getty Museum honored the artist for his 100th birthday with a major exhibition in 2001-2002 entitled "Manuel Alvarex Bravo: Optical Parables."
Nationality
Mexican
Gender
Male
Roles
Artist, Photographer
Names
Manuel Alvarez Bravo, M. Alvarez Bravo, Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Ulan
500028115
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License