Cemetery Wall
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© Colette Urbajtel/Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, SC

Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Mexican, negative 1967, print 1974
Gelatin silver print
9 9/16 x 7 1/4 in.

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This crumbling, whitewashed, cemetery speaks of the human need to erect boundaries, a persistent theme in Manuel Alvarez Bravo's photographs. The wall's foundation, which seems as firmly rooted as the tree growing in the distance, suggests stability and permanence, but its decay signals the ephemeral nature of material things. In this image, Alvarez Bravo used the collapsing wall as a metaphor for the transience of life, a message that a vault inside the cemetery's boundaries somberly reinforces.