Gabriel Figueroa
Photography from Mexicoʼs Golden Age of Film

September 19 - November 2, 2013


The Cohen Gallery in conjunction with the estate of Gabriel Figueroa* is pleased to announce an exhibition in our project room featuring photographic works by Gabriel Figueroa (1907-1997). Considered the premier Cinematographer of Mexicoʼs Golden Age of Film. Figueroa is known for his iconic images that helped forge a Mexican visual cultural identity.

Figueroa was nominated for an Oscar in 1964 and honored for his work on the film Macario at the Cannes Film Festival. He is know as the cinematographer for many classic films including The Fugitive (John Ford), Under the Volcano and The night of the Iguana (John Houston, La Perla (Emilio “Indio” Fernandez) and Los Olvidados (Luis Bunuel).

Revered for his meticulous detail, Figueroaʼs collection of photographs is comprised of images taken from the original 35 mm light test strips. Before going to the studio to film each day, Figueroa would visit the laboratory where he would check light tests, comprised of a photogram of a scene printed at different light levels and numbered in the left of the frame. From these tests, Figueroa would choose at which stop the scene would be printed. This attention to detail ensured a consistent visual style throughout the film. There are 20,000 stops in the archive of which 1000 were examined and selected by Figueroa himself.

Of those 1000 images, 300 were digitally restored over a 5-year period. The decision to digitalize the images was made taking into account artistry, preservation and archival consideration. Figueroaʼs son, master printer Gabriel Figueroa Flores, has worked for 20 years preserving, digitalizing and printing these images. Flores as director of the estate has selected another 350 images to add to the original selection made by his father.

Evident in this exhibition is Gabriel Figueroaʼs creative and artistic contribution to the visual iconography that is now in the lexicon of many contemporary artists and cinematographers. His photographs are impeccable examples of lighting, composition and chiaroscuro in both landscape and portraits.

*Courtesy of Gabriel Figueroa Flores and Patricia Correia Projects. Both will be in attendance opening night.

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