Photography: Lola Alvarez Bravo

23 Aug

Lola Alvarez Bravo

by Lorette C. Luzajic

Most photographers are known for mastery of a particular aspect of the art – lighting, composition, subject matter, style and design, creativity, perspective, portraits, and so forth. When a photographer’s strength is every one of these, you have the formidable Mexican Lola Alvarez Bravo.

For fifty years, Lola took pictures of daily life in Mexico, including portraits of her colleague, artist Frida Kahlo. She is known as the first female photographer in Mexico.

Born in 1907, Bravo began her career working as an assistant to her husband, the photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo. The work quickly became a passion of her own, and there is no doubt his work was a tremendous influence and inspiration to her voice.  Though Lola’s self-determination and Manuel’s philandering were alleged reasons for the dissolution of their marriage, there is no question their work was complementary and each became better artists through their shared passion of photography. Perhaps the major difference between artists with similar vision and style was that Lola preferred not to manipulate  or arrange her shots, but to capture, whenever possible, what was simply there already.

Frida Kahlo

From the artist’s own perspective, “If my photos have any value, it’s because they show a Mexico that no longer exists.”

Totally underrated and seldom mentioned in “master” listings, Bravo nonetheless changed the course of photographic history. She was a bold addition to the annals of historic strong women artists with the courage to pursue their creative potentialities.

Visit Lorette C. Luzajic at She is the author of Weird Monologues for a Rainy Life (irreverent ramblings from the end of the world); Fascinating Writers: twenty-five unusual lives; Dendrite Pandemonium; and many more. Find a listing of Lorette C. Luzajic’s books here.

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