CULTURE

Author photographs moments in Mexican life of the 1950s

“Juan Rulfo, thank you for offering us light and shadow,» writes a visitor at the photographic exhibition dedicated to the great Mexican author. Recently inaugurated at the Eynardos Hall (20 Aghiou Constantinou), the exhibition features more than 100 black-and-white shots of glorious landscapes and tender everyday moments of 1950s Mexico – all taken by Rulfo. Born in Jalisco in 1918 (he died in 1986), Rulfo was not a professional photographer but a prominent author who earned his well-deserved place in Mexican literature with two books: «El Llano en Llamos» (1953) and «Pedro Paramo» (1955). Those already familiar with the work of photographers Constantinos Manos and Costas Balafas, not to mention visitors to the recent Henri Cartier-Bresson show at the Benaki Museum, will find certain affinities with the author’s images. For Rulfo, the medium served to record life’s simple things: a clear gaze, a passion for one’s land, or religious dedication. His own life reflected the course of modern Mexican history. Coming from a family of farmers, Rulfo was a witness to the Cristeros Rebellion, which ultimately left him an orphan. Raised in an orphanage, he studied at Mexico City’s university before landing a job in immigration affairs. At the same time he began writing. During the 1945-1955 period he traveled extensively as an immigration control officer and discovered the art of photography. At the Eynardos Hall, all the works seem to exist in their own little autonomous universe. Places seem uncanny with people working, taking a break, lying on the ground and holding their children; not unlike Rulfo’s characters in «Pedro Paramo.» The exhibition runs to October 15.