Manuel Alvarez Bravo – Polaroids

I’m a big fan of polaroid work.  I love the sameness of the dimensions of each photo, the white border, and the cameras themselves. So when I found Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s book entitled “Polaroids” I grabbed it from the shelf and put it on the very top of my tower of photo books.  Flipping through the book, I found one square photo per page, surrounded completely by plain white paper.  I found this design to be quite effective.  No clutter, just straightforward artwork.  I appreciated this.  Bravo’s work is comprised of photos of crowds of people, individuals, natural landscapes and buildings in Mexico.  The crowds seem to be celebrating or commemorating some type of occasion; the buildings are all colorfully painted, reds, yellows and blues; as for the natural landscapes, some are familiar, for example, tree branches during dusk, pink clouds, all things I’ve experienced first hand and marveled at in person.  However, he does have a photo of cacti that I found to be rather beautiful in not only it’s composition, but also it’s simplicity.  A plant, straightforward, no frills, but one I’ve never gotten to see in person…I just found it interesting.  My favorite section of his book was the section that contained the individual people.  There is something about the closeness of Bravo and his subjects that I can relate to, and I enjoy that.  My favorite photo of Bravo’s collection can be found on both page 69 and the cover of the book, depicted below:

Photo by Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Presented by photo student.

My interpretation is that this photo is of a mother and her child, although I’m simply speculating.  But with that interpretation, I’ll say that Bravo’s way of capturing moments that are so precious, if nothing else, is spot on.  This is photograph is one of pure innocence and serenity and genuine love and nurturing.  I found it to be completely beautiful.

Book information: oversize TR 269 A47313 2005; Polaroids – Manuel Alvarez Bravo

A copy of Bravo’s book can be found here:


As always, I am RJ, and I am clearly jaded when it comes to pretty skies…just kidding.


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