Photography in Mexico: A Conversation with John Mraz Pt. 1


The Athenaeum Review art

Our guest on this episode is John Mraz, the world’s leading authority on photography in Mexico. Among his books are Looking for Mexico: Modern Visual Culture and National Identity ; Photographing the Mexican Revolution: Commitments, Testimonies, Icons ; and Nacho López: Mexican Photographer. He’s the curator of Los Hermanos Mayo: Photographing Exile, which was recently on view at UT Dallas.

In Part 1
How Los Hermanos Mayo, a photojournalists’ collective, emerged from the Spanish Civil War and how they migrated to Mexico (1:00) — Their working methods and techniques, and how they preserved their enormous archive of negatives (4:00) — How Dr. Mraz entered the documentary field (6:45) — Background on the bracero program for temporary farmworkers in the U.S. (7:45) — How this exhibition, book and documentary was put together (9:15) — Los Hermanos Mayo’s aesthetic and iconographical approach to representing workers (11:45) — The advent of the small-format 35mm camera and its implications (13:15) — Cropping and titling photographs, or how Nacho López and Los Hermanos Mayo fit between art and photojournalism (18:15) — The depths of Los Hermanos Mayo’s catalog, with its millions of images (22:00).

Recorded and edited by Oskar Olsson.

Voices in this episode