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National Camera

Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment

2009
Author:

Roberto Tejada

National Camera

Challenges conventional habits of discussing image, identity, and photography

Roberto Tejada offers a study of Mexican photography from the early twentieth century to today, demonstrating how images have shaped identities in Mexico, the United States, and the borderlands where the two nations and cultures intersect—a place Tejada calls the shared image environment. Tejada traces the connective thread that photography has provided between Mexican and U.S. American cultural production and, in doing so, defines both nations.

National Camera is an innovative and complex meditation on the transnational dimensions of what Roberto Tejada calls the ‘camera culture’ of greater Mexico, and it is no exaggeration to state that no other book on the market covers the same terrain.

Andrea Noble, author of Mexican National Cinema

In National Camera, Roberto Tejada offers a comprehensive study of Mexican photography from the early twentieth century to today, demonstrating how images have shaped identities in Mexico, the United States, and the borderlands where the two nations and cultures intersect—a place Tejada calls the shared image environment.

The “problem” of photography in Mexico, Tejada shows, reveals cross-cultural episodes that are rife with contradictions, especially in the complex terms of cultural and sexual difference. Analyzing such topics as territory, sexuality, and social and ethnic relations in image making, Tejada delves into the work of key figures such as Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, Marius de Zayas, and Julien Levy, as well as the Agustín Víctor Casasola Archive, the Boystown photographs, and contemporary Mexican and Latina photo-based artists.

From the Mexican Revolution of 1910–20 to the U.S.–Mexico borderlands of today, Tejada traces the connective thread that photography has provided between Mexican and U.S. American intellectual and cultural production and, in doing so, defines both nations.

National Camera

Roberto Tejada is an art historian, curator, and associate professor of art and media history, theory, and criticism in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego. A widely published poet and literary translator, he is the author of Mirrors for Gold, as well as the founder and coeditor of Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas. His monograph on the artist Celia Álvarez Muñoz for the series A Ver: Revisioning Art History is also with the University of Minnesota Press.

National Camera

National Camera is an innovative and complex meditation on the transnational dimensions of what Roberto Tejada calls the ‘camera culture’ of greater Mexico, and it is no exaggeration to state that no other book on the market covers the same terrain.

Andrea Noble, author of Mexican National Cinema

National Camera expands the discussion of Mexican photography in innovative and insightful ways, providing the reader with a fresh and sophisticated interpretation of the artwork done by some of the most prominent photographers of twentieth-century Mexican history. It represents an important contribution to the debate on Mexican intellectual and cultural modernity from the point of view of a transnational image landscape. It will certainly stimulate further research and discussion.

Hispanic American Historical Review