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NOBLE Andrea

Photography and memory in Mexico. Icons of Revolution

Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2010, 208 p., £60.

Photography and memory in Mexico traces the ‘life stories’ of some of the famous photographic images made during the 1910 revolution, which have been repeatedly reproduced across a range of media in its aftermath. Which photographs have become icons of the revolution and why these particular images and not others ? What is the relationship between photography and memory of the conflict ? How do we construct a critical framework for addressing the issues raised by iconic photographs ? Placing an emphasis on the life, afterlife and also the pre-life of those iconic photographs that haunt the post-revolutionary landscape, Andrea Noble approaches them as dynamic objects, where their rhetorical power is derived from a combination of their visual eloquence and their ability to coordinate patterns of identification with the memory of the revolution as a foundational event in Mexican history. Disseminated in the illustrated press during the revolution, these referential images provided their contemporary viewers with knowledge about the conflict that was unfolding around them. Often overlooked by historians, they continue to bring us ‘news’ from a distant time and place, even as they circulate today across contemporary media technologies. By bringing these ubiquitous objects into focus, Photography and memory in Mexico reflects more broadly on what their biographies can tell us about Mexican cultural memory and identity in the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.

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