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5 Fast Facts: Lola Álvarez Bravo

Blog Category:  5 Fast Facts
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.

Impress your friends with five fast facts about Lola Álvarez Bravo (1907–1993), whose work is on view in NMWA’s collection galleries.

1. Artful Ambition

As a photographer, Álvarez Bravo traveled throughout Mexico documenting scenes of everyday life, but her creative contributions went beyond her artistic output. Her other roles included art teacher, curator, film director, and gallery owner.

2. Six Degrees

Álvarez Bravo and Graciela Iturbide (b. 1942), who represent two generations of Mexican photographers, have a mutual acquaintance. In 1925, Álvarez Bravo married photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo, who would become Iturbide’s teacher and mentor in 1970. Until their separation in 1934, Álvarez Bravo learned from and assisted Manuel, while developing her own style.

A woman is photographed from behind. Her long black braid trails down the center of her back, and she holds a young female child. The child looks directly at the camera from over the woman’s left shoulder. The sleeves and collar of the child’s white dress have floral borders.
Lola Álvarez Bravo, De Generación en Generación, ca. 1950; Gelatin silver print, 18 3/4 x 14 in.; NMWA, Gift of the artist; © 1995 Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona Foundation

3. BFFs

On November 25, 1991, the exhibition Lola Álvarez Bravo: Portraits of Frida Kahlo opened at NMWA. Organized by The Society of Friends of the Mexican Culture, the exhibition included 25 photographs Álvarez Bravo took of her close friend and fellow artist Frida Kahlo (1907–1954).

4. Art Appreciation

Álvarez Bravo received recognition for her work throughout her career and after her death, including solo and group exhibitions, awards, and, most recently, a Google Doodle in honor of her 117th birthday on April 3, 2020.

5. StrongHer

One of Mexico’s first women photographers, Álvarez Bravo developed a thick skin in the male-dominated industry. As she once said, “I was the only woman fooling around with a camera on the streets and the reporters laughed at me. So I became a fighter.”

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