Object Image

Optic Parable (Parábola óptica)

Born in Mexico City, Alvarez Bravo was a self-taught photographer whose images of everyday life are often imbued with the surreal and the uncanny. Optic Parable is emblematic of his approach to image making. Here, he has positioned himself outside an optician’s shop window, obliquely photographed its sun-dappled window display, and then flipped the negative before making the print. The resulting image, unsettling from the start with its sea of disembodied eyes and myriad reflections on glass, becomes all-the-more disorienting with its text now reading backwards. Alvarez Bravo’s transformation of an ordinary shop window into a mysterious and destabilizing scene brilliantly calls into question th...
1931
Gelatin silver print
19.0 x 21.3cm
2001-62-35
Image @ Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Text © Philadelphia Museum of Art

Where you'll find this

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Permanent collection