The Mexican Suitcase (2010)
Published by the International Center of Photography, NY City
Edited by Cynthia Young
In the mid-1930’s, three refugees from Eastern Europe came together in Paris, sharing a love of photography and an anti-fascist ideology. To survive they would take pictures on the streets of Paris and try to sell them to various journals, or hire themselves out for specific projects or photo shoots. Eventually, they changed their names to more neutral sounding pseudonyms (presumably to make themselves more commercially acceptable), and thus were born Robert Capa (originally André Freidman), Gerda Taro (originally Gerta Pohorylle) and Chim (originally Dawid Szymin).
|Political Speech on Land Reform, |
Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain;
Spring 1936; by Chim
Off and on over the years the search had continued for the negatives, eventually leading to a man in Mexico who was rumored to have large collection of negatives that were similar to known photographs of Capa, Taro and Chim: the so-called ‘Mexican Suitcase’ of negatives. In 2007 the negatives were finally tracked downa and eventually delivered to the International Center of Photography (IPC) in New York City; the IPC assembled contact prints of the negatives, and some background history, into this two volume set, as part of an exhibit of the newly found negatives.
|Cover of French magazine|
Regards, with photo by
|Contact print of pictures|
from battle for Mardid, University
City and Parque Del Oueste;
The first of the two volumes includes a discussion of the background of the photographers, the Spanish Civil War and their involvement in it, and the search for the missing negatives; it also includes enlarged prints of some of the negatives. The second volume contains contact prints of all the negatives that were found in the collection, divided into groups based on who was taking the pictures, and where they were taken, with some brief introductory notes before each group.
If you have an interest in the Spanish Civil War, this set is a fascinating look into the heart of that war, providing critical additional understanding beyond what might be read in the histories written about the conflict.
Other reviews / information:
Visit the International Center of Photography web-site for more information on:
- the collection (including background story, more pictures, and more).
- this book of the exhibition.
- the collection as a traveling exhibition.
For more details on the years of the Spanish 2nd Republic and the Spanish Civil War: The Spanish Civil War
See the 'Fallen Soldier' picture, and an example of the controversy over it, in an article on a PBS site by Richard Whelan (note also the comments that follow the article).
Have you read this book, others by this author, or similar ones by other authors? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts.
For more reviews of books on Spain and its history, click a link to my bookshelf of:
Spain and Spanish History
or click one of the following links to my complete bookshelves of:
Fiction or Non-Fiction