Manuel Álvarez Bravo

Mexican (Mexico City, Mexico, 1902 - 2002, Mexico City, Mexico)

Los agachados (The crouched ones)

photograph | gelatin silver print
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  • Los agachados  (The crouched ones)

    Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Los agachados (The crouched ones), 1934; gelatin silver print, 5 in. x 6 1/2 in. (12.7 cm x 16.51 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein; © Colette Urbajtel / Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo

Seeking shelter from the bright midday sun, a group of workers gather at an inexpensive lunch counter. Their torn and stained clothing and the shoeshine box at their feet suggest that they are poor laborers. Like convicts on a chain gang, the men are seated on stools that are locked together with heavy metal links. The workers are faceless; their anonymity and hunched postures, like the chain at their feet, are suggestive of their economic plight.

Alvarez Bravo had a Surrealist's eye for the mysterious and uncanny in everyday life. For example, the opening to the comedor, or dining room, resembles a giant, gaping mouth consuming the men as they, in turn, eat their lunch. The composition is also an elegant study of lights and darks, the shape of the stall neatly determining the framing of the photograph.

5 in. x 6 1/2 in. (12.7 cm x 16.51 cm)
Acquired 2001
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein
© Colette Urbajtel / Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo


men, bars, stools, chains, drinking, back views, shadows, Surrealism

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