Urgent Museum Notice

De generación en generación

Close up of De generación en generación

Black-and-white photograph of a woman wearing a dark skirt and light blouse holding a child. The woman faces back and her dark braid reaches past her waist. The dark-haired child stares at the camera and wears a white embroidered dress. Other figures are slightly visible beyond.

Lola Álvarez Bravo, De Generación en Generación, ca. 1950; Gelatin silver print, 18 3/4 x 14 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of the artist; © 1995 Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona Foundation

De generación en generación
Lola Álvarez Bravo

Like her friend Frida Kahlo, Lola Álvarez Bravo celebrated the traditional costumes and customs of her country’s varied regions. The woman in this photograph wears a black wool wrap skirt and woven belt distinctive to the village of Hueyapan in a mountainous area of south-central Mexico called Morelos.

While the photograph itself is unposed, the composition of De generación en generación has been carefully planned, creating a sense of mystery because of the mother’s unseen face, the child’s startled gaze, and the cropped forms of people on either side. Álvarez Bravo stated: “To begin with, I find something that attracts me, then I immediately try to make it perfect in composition and light.”

Álvarez Bravo spoke about the uniqueness of Mexico’s intense sunlight, and she often shot figures against light-filled backgrounds to highlight the rich textures of skin, hair, and costumes. In this photograph, spots of sunlight play over the woman’s nubbly wool skirt, her soft cotton blouse, and her gleaming braid. Within the mid-tones in the top half of the photograph, her baby girl’s unsmiling face dominates.

Álvarez Bravo cannily blended nationalist content with the expression of universal human emotions. Part of the impact of this image is our awareness that we are outside of this touching familial relationship.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Lola Álvarez Bravo
  • Title

    De generación en generación
  • Date

    ca. 1950
  • Medium

    Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions

    9 x 6 1/8 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of the Artist
  • Photo Credit

    © 1995 Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona Foundation
  • On Display

    Yes