The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
The anonymous author refers to the competition established in Mexico under the name Primera Exposición de Arte Fotográfico Nacional [First Exhibition of National Photographic Art]. The text describes the different genres included in the competition organized by Antonio Garduño. The review highlights the fact that it was Garduño himself who won first prize and the gold medal for one of his photographs; the article also refers to other important photographers of the time including Librado García Smarth (sic). The author mistakenly identifies Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s first name as José when citing him for his simplicity. He also refers to Hugo Brehme’s landscapes and the photography of Tina Modotti. He recognizes these three along with other prominent artists of the time.
This document is of interest because it refers to the first contest in which avant-garde Mexican photography appeared alongside the pictorial-photo tradition that was then dominant on the urban Mexican scene. This contest is a watershed in the development of photography, in which the radical change of themes and photographic genres can be recognized. The fact that Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902-2002) presented [a photograph of] a feather duster in the exhibition—the author identifies this as a “simple subject”—alongside the photographs of dogs or the traditional photos of brides at their weddings, insinuates the co-existence of traditional genres. The alteration of these same genres can be noted through the inclusion of elements of daily life that constitute a visual universe until then unprecedented in the country.
The article’s significant value stems from its report on the disapproval that the competition’s organizers felt for the new forms and styles of representation.