Set Trap/[Trampa Puesta]

Object Details


Set Trap/[Trampa Puesta]


Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902 - 2002)






Gelatin silver print


24.6 x 16.7 cm (9 11/16 x 6 9/16 in.)


© Colette Urbajtel/Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, SC

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Seated with their arms crossed, a man and a woman sell their wares, shaded by a striped shawl that has been tied to two trees. Manuel Alvarez Bravo made this photograph outside the Villa de Guadalupe, a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's quintessential religious figure. Much of Mexico's rural population began moving to the capital around the time that Alvarez Bravo made this image. Their hardship and the disparity between the social classes became highly visible among Mexico's citizens, and in Alvarez Bravo's work.

Alvarez Bravo used visual clues to illustrate the couple's social plight. By relegating the figures to the extreme lower foreground and filling the remainder of the composition with tree trunks and branches, Alvarez Bravo illustrated their lowly status. To symbolize the almost impossible task of improving one's circumstances, he cropped the couple's feet out of the photograph. At the same time, a beam of light falls across the left side of the image and onto the woman's figure, as if to signal that a better future may be forthcoming.

Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Recuerdo de unos años (September 22 to December 6, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), September 22 to December 6, 1992
Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Optical Parables (November 13, 2001 to February 9, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 13, 2001 to February 17, 2002
  • Museo Nacional de Arte (Mexico City), March 14 to June 2, 2002
  • Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), November 10, 2002 to February 9, 2003