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    El desnudo en fotografía
    Helios: Revista mensual fotográfica (México D.F., México). -- Vol. 4, no.37 (Oct.-Dic. 1933)
    p. 7-10
    Journal article – Essays
    Helios: Revista mensual fotográfica (Mexico City) "El desnudo en fotografía." vol. 4, no.37 (October-December 1933): 7-10.

The anonymous author of this article advises photographers on how to photograph nudes and obtain a truly worthy result. The writer emphasizes that this is one of the genres in which it is hardest to achieve perfection; therefore, he suggests that the photographer find a very worthy model, whether man or woman. His reasoning is that unlike painting, photography “paints a picture of a real structure.” It is with great ease that the writer moves between pictorial and photographic discourse, from which we may deduce that he had serious academic training. He would then apply this training to photography in his search to gain recognition for it as a great art. In this vein, he recommends following some of the most outstanding photographers of the time including Seifert, Capstack, Drtikol, Wildiing and Hoppitz. Moreover, he suggests that the photographer use highly photosensitive materials along with fast lenses, so the model does not tire and the spontaneity of the image is not lost. One must seek the best angles to create a nude image, not vulgar and without false shame, to give the work its best chance of being seen as an artwork. Finally, he acknowledges that this genre is changing and that it has a great future in store if photographers are able to envision and create work based on the canons of beauty from the time of the ancient Greeks.


This essay is an asset about Mexican photography from the 1920s. It was published in one of the magazines most critical of the modernist photography introduced by Edward Weston (1886-1958) and Tina Modotti (1896-1942) during their stay in Mexico. Although the writer was unable to elude the attraction exercised by this genre of photography, he was able to resist any idea of retaking the nude from the viewpoint of visual modernization. Thus, his esthetic references are more pictorial than photographic. In spite of the changes he proposes in the creation of nude portraits, both the works referred to, and his discourse suggest a return to the aesthetics of the ancient Greeks and their concept of the classical figure.

It would seem, though to date it remains unconfirmed, that this text could be from the pen of Antonio Garduño, editor of the journal, Helios, or else a writer completely in sync with his vision. Let us recall that during those very same 1920s, Garduño renders nude portraits of Nahui Ollin [Carmen Mondragón (1893-1978)]. In addition to achieving a fairly wide distribution, Garduño’s works are very innovative because they have a great aesthetic charge based on both their composition and their technique. In addition, the model is very attractive and her emotions are precisely conveyed through the skin of her nude body. 

Rebeca Monroy
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico

Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional