For your book wish list: Mexican Portraits


Just when you thought your groaning book shelves or cluttered coffee table couldn’t bear any more books with photos of Mexico, along comes a tome that might surpass them all: Mexican Portraits (Vesta Herrerías, Pablo Ortíz Monasterio). The book spans the tumult of Mexico’s 20th and 21st centuries, telling stories through faces of the rich, the poor, the young, the old, the famous and the unknown. We all know Mexico is bewilderingly photogenic; it’s like the Marilyn Monroe of countries, the camera just can’t seem to get enough of her. Maybe because it’s such a vibrant, high-contrast landscape – the light, the colors, the provocative juxtapositions of past and present, glittering wealth and ragged poverty. But as much as people photograph and document the country’s flora, fauna, people and monuments, it all maintains an aura of mystery, of being just beyond the grasp of rational understanding. “The essence of a portrait has more to do with enigma than with certainty,” is how the book opens. “At the center of this wide-ranging selection are two distinct notions embedded in the history of the portrait: mask and metamorphosis.”

You can check out some of the photos from the book in this article in The Daily Mail or this one in the New York Times.

The book goes on sale on Amazon on May 31 or you can purchase from the publisher, Aperture.