Viewpoints: Latin America in Photographs at The New York Public Library, March 24 – June 28, 2017

“The geography, people, and rich culture of Latin America have long inspired photographers to capture visually their experiences and impressions. Their photographs, in turn, entice viewers to marvel at that which is foreign or to reminisce about the familiar. Drawn exclusively from The New York Public Library’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, Photography Collection, this exhibition presents images of Latin America from the 1850s through the present, arranged in parallel trajectories to highlight the contexts in which they were made. Works by photographers resident of or native to the region appear across from those taken by photographers who approached Latin America as visitors. The exhibition thus seeks to provide insight into varying cultural perspectives, historical circumstances, and artistic motivations, be they to survey the land, document industrial projects, cater to the tourist market, or express personal heritage and culture.

The first half of the exhibition presents works from the 1850s through the turn of the 20th century, a time when most photographers in Latin America were European émigrés. They established their studios on prominent streets of major cities and catered to an elite and a foreign clientele. As a result, most of the photographs to emerge from the period were either portraits of individuals or images that confirmed prevailing perceptions of the country and its people. Likewise, travelers visiting the region documented their adventures as they focused on the dramatic landscapes, the “exotic,” and scenes that would impress audiences at home.” — Introductory Wall Texts

Courret Hermanos, carte-de-visite, ca. 1863. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs

Louis-Édouard Roussel, Destruction of the Siege of Puebla, 1863. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photograph

Henry DeWitt Moulton & Alexander Gardner, Panorama of North Island, Chincha Islands, with Part of Fleet Waiting for Guano. No. 1, ca. 1865. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs

Esteban Gonnet, Entrada al Cementerio Inglés (Entrance to the English Cemetery), ca. 1866. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs

Yndia del Cuzco e Indio de Puno, ca. 1868. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs

Alfred Percival Maudslay, Tikal, Province of Petén, Guatemala, 1882. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs

Dana B. Merrill, image from the album Views of the Estrada de Ferro Madeira e Mamoré Amazonas & Matto Grosso, Brazil S.A., 1909–12. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs

Martín Chambi, Campesino con Llama, Sicuani-Cusco (Peasant with Llama, Sicuani-Cusco), 1938. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs. © Archivo Fotográfico Martín Chambi Cusco – Perú

Margaret Bourke-White, Coffee Picker, São Martinho, Brazil, 1936. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs. © Estate of Margaret Bourke-White/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Douglas Sandhage, Tefé, Brazil, 1974. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs. © Douglas Sandhage

Daniel Chauche, Cofrades, Nebaj, 1989. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs. © Daniel Chauche

Flor Garduño, Polvo Serán, Mas Polvo Enamorado (Dust They Become, But Dust in Love), Toledo, Bolivia, 1990. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs. © Flor Garduño

Valdir Cruz, Women—Crab Hunting (Irokai-teri), 1997. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs. © Valdir Cruz

Edward Ranney, Palpa Valley, 2004. NYPL, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs. © Edward Ranney

Viewpoints: Latin America in Photographs was curated by Elizabeth Cronin.

Images courtesy The New York Public Library.