Tijuana Cultural Center
Tijuana, B.C., Mexico
August, 2013 – January, 2014
Since the 19th century, the landscape has been a prolific source of record for local photographers and travelers who, through their plates, made known our natural and archaeological riches to the old world known. Important legacies are those of Pál Rosti (1830-1874), Claude-Joseph Désiré Charnay (1828-1915), Teoberto Maler (1842-1917), Augustus Le Plongeon (1825-1908) and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon (1851-1910) who, among others, visited Mexico during the second half of that century.
Photography allowed to register the advances of the country during the time of the Porfiriato, for this reason the construction of railways was recorded by Abel Briquet (1833-s/f) and William Henry Jackson (1843-1942), whom not only fulfilled the official commission, but used the theme to make splendid images of the landscape throughout the country.
Guillermo Kahlo (1871–1941) and Hugo Brehme (1882–1954) arrived in 1891 and 1908, respectively. Two great photographers of German origin who with great mastery and excellent photographic equipment recorded the mexican architecture and the Mexican landscape. Minister José Yves Limantour commissioned Kahlo to publish a book to commemorate México’s Centennial of Independence in 1910, which includes images of architectural monuments from across the country. Hugo Brehme continued the tradition and themes of Guillermo Kahlo and captured magnificent views, made known to the world by the publication México Pintoresco, the most important book of photography of its time, published in 1926.
Throughout the twentieth century our great photographers have repeatedly touched on the theme of the landscape. It is difficult for anyone not to do so, directly or experimentally. However, only a few have been fully and almost exclusively focused on this genre, which somehow seemed relegated for decades. We cannot omit the work of Armando Salas Portugal (1916-1995) on landscape, who -besides leaving a great legacy- also made important contributions to photographic techniques.
The contemporary landscape intentionally brings together seven talents from the same generation whom, educated in traditional laboratory techniques, then experiment with alchemy until they manipulate and transform their work. These seven greats have crossed the threshold of the digital age, with the rich background provided by their experience, and achieve a space of visual expression with the new technology. The seven have been dedicated to the representation of the landscape proliferous and continuous way, for some of them, this is their only form of expression. All are prone to technical experimentation, perfection and analysis. Their gazes have matured and each manages to project himself individually through his symbols, concepts, concerns and particular interests.
In some cases, their environments have driven them: desert, city, mountains, valleys or -like 19th-century travelers- exploring continents on the hunt for the most precious landscapes. Alfredo de Stéfano, Eric Jervaise, Gabriel Figueroa, Gerardo Suter, Javier Hinojosa, Rafael Doníz, and Roberto Ortiz Giacomán, each show their own interpretation of the landscape and their gaze with the eyes of the 21st century.
Emma Cecilia Garcia Krinsky