Throckmorton Fine Art presents views of women, myth, and photography intertwined through nine pioneers who embrace new attitudes for women. Since 1896 through the present, freedom earned through personal decision and efforts includes the early social risks taken in a still-traditional society. Where women were not to “play” with the camera, as did Tina Modotti, (1896-1942), Lola Alvarez Bravo (1903-1993), Kati Horna (1912-2000), and Mariana Yampolsky (1925–2002). It was known how Kati Horna avoided shooting war scenes when she was sent to report on the Spanish confrontation; or cite Lola Álvarez Bravo who having learned all her photographic technical skills from her then-husband, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, yet deciding to go her own way, creating strong-angled compositions, and even opening a gallery where she was the first in Mexico to exhibit artwork by Frida Kahlo.
Tina Modotti was born in Udine, Italy, and through social left-wing convictions and photography she would structure her life, which was the most intense when she lived in Mexico. Mariana Yampolsky was born in Chicago to a well-educated family, from a Jewish mother and an artistic Russian father. She took different paths throughout her life, as a student, printer, editor, and photographer, and it was this last period, camera-in-hand, for which she is most admired. She had a productive collaboration with Oscar Hagermann, an architect and designer, who also discovered the relationship between the needy communities around them and what one can contribute in life. Colette Urbajtel, a French economist, completes the trio of women born abroad who became pioneers of Mexican photography, hand-in-hand with their Mexican-born colleagues. These post-revolutionary Mexican artist photographers laid the ground work for women to expand some years later in all fields and in all directions, revealing the scope of humanitarian richness that Mexico offers.
With a subtle construction, and an acute sense of interest for scenes that were surprising, Colette Urbajtel (1934) began taking her own photos confronting her husband - the renowned master, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, for whom she was printing. Some years later, Graciela Iturbide (1942) elevated the name of Mexico to the top of the photography field worldwide by being recognized with all of the highest awards and innumerable touring exhibitions. In a magical direction, Flor Garduño (1957) has traversed the world through her exhibits and books with a poetic style of photography.
Approaching these nine pioneers today, we see those who absorbed the research from developing new forms of expression, did analog and digital work, and recognized the variety in human confrontations. We see Lourdes Almeida (1952) bring this to the forefront with still-censored topics such as homosexuality. Almeida also uses photography to create installations and artist’s books with elusive references to nature. With a similar expansive territory of technical research and creativity, Cristina Kahlo (1960) recovers the musical expressions of young indigenous individuals and groups, and the urban danzón, while exercising every unimaginable printing technique, including painting photography and the construction of objects.
This exhibition is not chronological, but a selection of some of the principal and powerful results in the human course of action taken by these trailblazing artists. This first curatorial selection includes nine female photographers who do not just reproduce people or objects, but atmospheric and emotional situations of the times each one lived, and their lives. The storytelling of the photographs exhibited is intimately tied to the lives of each of these extraordinary women. They knew- and know—that it is in their hands, and through this art expression and form, that a distressed society can be reflected- and dreams can be pursued and fulfilled.