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MANUEL ALVAREZ BRAVO
[1902 - 2002] Mexican Photographer and Artist
The word 'art' is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to one's work. I work for the pleasure, for the pleasure of the work, and everything else is a matter for the critics. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Popular art is the art of the People. A popular painter is an artisan who, is in the Middle Ages, remains anonymous. His work needs no advertisement, as it is done for the people around him. The more pretentious artist craves to be famous, and it is characteristic of his work that it is brought for the name rather than for the work--a name that is built up by propaganda. Before the Conquest all art was of the people, and popular art has never ceased to exist in Mexico. The art called Popular is quite fugitive in character, of sensitive quality, with less of the impersonal and intellectual characteristics that are the essence of the art of the schools. It is the work of talent nourished by personal experience and that of the community--rather than being taken from the experiences of other painters in other times and other cultures, which forms the intellectual chain of nonpopular art. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

I was born in the city of Mexico, behind the Cathedral, in the place where the temples of the ancient Mexican gods must have been built, February fourth, 1902. I went through primary education, beyond this I have been self-taught. I served the government of my country many years in accountancy work, handling much abstract money. Interested since always in art, I committed the common error of believing that photography would be the easiest; the memory of intents in other fields make me understand now that I found my road on time. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

One could think of a person who seems to have two opposing and contradictory sides to his personality; but it turns out that in the end the two sides are complementary. The same happens with an artist's work: deep down, what appear as contradictory sides are merely different registers, different aspects of the reality that the artist inhabits... - Manuel Alvarez Bravo
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A photographer's main instrument is his eyes. Strange as it may seem, many photographers choose to use the eyes of another photographer, past or present, instead of their own. Those photographers are blind. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

A photographer's main instrument is his eyes. Strange as this may seem, many photographers choose to use the eyes of another photographer, past or present, instead of their own. These photographers are blind. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

I feel I h've done my part. I think I contributed something, in whatever way I did. I'm at peace in that respect. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo - Amateur Photographer 2 February 2002 - page 38

There is no other art with as great a democratic capacity as photography. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Telemann once said something interesting. He said that every musician must be whistling something at all times. Well, I say that every photographer must be living at all times. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

The word “art” is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to one’s work. I work for the pleasure, for the pleasure of the work, and everything else is a matter for the critics. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Shoot what you see, not what you think. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

I think that light and shadow have exactly the same duality that exists between life and death. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

I think that a visual artist’s philosophy develops much more freely than a writer’s or a thinker’s philosophy. It is not so disciplined. The photographer works with both his eyes and his mind. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

When one takes a photograph, one doesn’t think about saying anything in particular. One doesn’t think about making a statement but rather of creating something visual which later can bear a meaning that one didn’t intend to transmit—depending on the viewer’s interpretation but not necessarily on the photographer’s. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Throughout my life I’ve never pursued anything. I just let things pursue me... they just show up... This is the way I’ve lead my life, not just in photography, but in life. - Manuel Alvarez Bravo

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