Photo: Hector Garcia's portrayal of David Alfaro Siqueiros
Mexican photographer Hector Garcia died of heart problems in this capital, a city whose modern history he chronicled in photos and for which he was considered “The Photographer of the City,” the National Culture and Arts Council, or Conaculta, said. He was 88.
Garcia, who was born in Mexico City in 1923, died on Saturday.
He took many iconic photos during his career, including the celebrated portrait of painter David Alfaro Siqueiros behind the bars of the Palacio de Lecumberri prison, an image he captured in 1960.
Garcia was hailed by Conaculta president Consuelo Saizar as a “mythic” figure who “photographed the soul of Mexico” in his work.
The photographer, a disciple of image artists such as Manuel Alvarez Bravo (1902-2002) and Gabriel Figueroa (1907-1997), over the course of his career held 65 individual expositions of his work in Mexico and abroad.
“With his camera, he photographed the street children and artists, daily scenes, nudes, peasants, prisoners, with which he became the photographer of Mexico who through his images told about the life of the country,” Conaculta said in a statement.
Garcia, born in the poor neighborhood of Candelaria de los Patos, emigrated to the United States in search of work after World War II.
“He worked as a graphic journalist at different publications in Mexico and abroad starting in 1945. On three occasions he won the National Journalism Award (1958, 1969, 1979) and in 2002 he received the National Arts and Sciences Award,” Conaculta, which serves as the culture ministry in Mexico, said.
Later, he won the prize for best ethnographic film at the Popoli Festival in Florence, Italy, in 1972.
In 1958, he covered the Mexican railway labor conflict photographing the movement headed by Demetrio Vallejo.
Between 1960 and 1967, he held 12 individual expositions, of which the most noteworthy were “Rostros de Mexico” (1960), “Imagenes de Mexico” (Paris, 1963), “Vision del mundo maya” (Madrid, 1964), “Una vision de Mexico” and “La nueva grandeza mexicana” (Mexico City, 1966 and 1967, respectively).
His images filled the annals of public collections in Paris, Washington, Houston and were included in the Vatican Museum and the Mexico City National Anthropology Museum, among others.