Paul Strand eloquently described Manuel Alvarez Bravo's work as "rooted firmly in his love and compassionate understanding of his own country, its people, their problems and their needs." For Strand, Alvarez Bravo had mastered the medium of photography and used it "to speak with warmth about Mexico."
Like many of Alvarez Bravo's photographs, this image illustrates the day-to-day struggle--and resourcefulness--of Mexico's poor. The ramshackle setting is the residence and workplace of a scrap collector, who has assembled a collection of artifacts in the hopes of attracting a potential buyer. Alvarez Bravo's title, Fable of the Dog and the Cloud, draws attention to the only two elements in the image that are capable of movement, implying that the collector's stagnant goods will remain unsold.