Vargas, Ava - LA Casa De Cita: Mexican Photographs from the Belle Epoque new in seal
The photographs were discovered in 1975 in a flea market in Mexico City. How they found their way there we shall never discover. The stall-holder had no recollection of how he came by them, and had probably had them tucked away among his boxes and bric-a-brac for many years. In the end, they were unearthed by Raul Kamffer, an antiquarian of infinite patience. What caught his eye on this occasion was an old wooden stereoscopic viewer, complete with a collection of glass plates depicting young ladies variously deshabillees in what looked to be a bordello of the pre-revolutionary era. He took the device home, left it in his store room and promptly forgot about it. In 1981, when I returned to Mexico to photograph the Tarahumara Indians in Chihuahua, I stopped off in Mexico City to visit an old friend, who introduced me to Raul. I have always felt an interest in Mexico's past, so when he invited me to browse through his collection of folk art and old books, I accepted at once. I was hoping there might be some old photographs, since this is my area of special interest, and at once noticed the viewer half-hidden under books and pictures. We pulled it out, together with the two battered cardboard boxes that contained the plates, and took it into the living-room to look at the cache more closely. The freshness of the material impressed me straight away. Although the pictures had obviously been taken many decades earlier, there was something exceptional about the way the women in them were portrayed - far more intensely and personally than the rather stiff nudes from the period that you come across in Europe.
Hardcover : 144 pages
Dimensions : 25.5 x 30.5 x 2 cm
Publisher : Quartet Books Ltd
Language: : English
isbn : 9780704325784