In 1955, Manuel Carrillo (1906-1989) began photographing and documenting indigenous Mexico. His street photography of campesinos, indios, mestizo men, women and children chronicled Mexico's essential character and recorded everyday life. Carrillo embraced the ideas of Mexicanidad, a cultural movement that emerged in the 1920s after Mexico's Revolution, which comprised influential writers, photographers, and artists.
Its overriding ambition was to substantiate a national identity by purging colonial and any other foreign influence from contemporary art. Carrillo's photographs serve as a celebration of the human spirit and as a record of local rituals and practices. He photographed a period when peasants still wore traditional dress, men wore huarache sandals, and women were never seen without their rebozo. Carrillo's subjects are proud and strong, happy and optimistic. His photographs also captured the disconsolation and despair endemic to these impoverished, rural communities.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website