Through the Open Lens

Through the Open Lens

An Interview with Consuelo Saldaña DP

Inspired by organizations such as The International Collective of Female Cinematographers (ICFC) in the United States, female cinematographers around the world are creating their own local associations to support and to promote the work of women in the television and film industries. In Mexico, Apertura DOP recently launched a website/directory featuring the work and contact information of 35 female cinematographers that work in the industry. One of them is Consuelo Saldaña, a director of photography who has been working in film and television for the last decade. For this interview, Saldaña offers her insights, projects, and challenges as a DP.

On Her Breakthrough and Work Process

Claudia Pretelin: Will you tell us a little bit about your background and breakthrough?

Consuelo Saldaña: Yes, my career started about sixteen years ago after I came back from Spain where I received a Master’s in Cinematography at the Cinema and Audiovisual School of Catalonia. I started shooting small television commercials and serials including XY (a Mexican television series produced by NAO for Once TV Mexico) where I worked as the camera operator. For the second season of XY, the cinematographer Diego Rodríguez, with whom I’ve worked on different projects, gave me the opportunity to be the director of photography of the second unit and to continue operating the camera through the second and third season.

CP: How do you prepare for work on a new project? What’s your work process like?

CS: First I need to read the script, see what it’s all about and I start from there. I think it’s important for me to like the script. It has to make me feel some kind of emotion so I can translate it into something visual. After reading the script, I start working on dividing the sequences and I think about how’s it going to look. I talk a lot with the director; to see what they’re looking for and what their expectations are for the project. One of my rituals is to do research. I go to museums, art exhibitions, and I look at my photography books in order to find some inspiration. I also have to decide which cameras and lenses I will use. Once the project has been approved, and depending on the budget, I start shooting tests with the cameras and lenses I’ve chosen.

CP: What’s been a favorite project?

CS: One of my favorite projects has been the shooting of the TV series XY. Not only because it was my first job as a DP, but also because I had the opportunity to work with great people, screenwriters, and directors. XY was a controversial project that started conversations about issues that were not openly addressed on TV. The series was nominated for Best Fiction TV Series, Best Production, Best Actress, and Best Actor in the Television Festival of Montercarlo in 2011. To have the opportunity to work on this project allowed me to learn a lot about working with very few resources.

On Industry Advocacy

In the United States last year, according to Martha M. Lauzen at the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, San Diego State University in California, “women comprised 20% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films”. A very small increase compared to the 18% from 2017.

CP: From your experience, how hard is for a woman to have a career as DP in Mexico?

CS: Things have changed in the last few years, but when I started it was really hard. This particular job in both industries has traditionally been reserved for men. For me to be able to work and lead a team of mostly men wasn’t easy at all. However, it was a man who first gave me the opportunity to start a career in the industry. Just recently in Mexico, a collective of professional female cinematographers created an organization called Apertura DOP to provide each other with community support and industry advocacy. Not only in Mexico but also around the world, there’s a movement of women advocating for better professional opportunities in the industry.

CP: If you had the opportunity to change something within the TV and Film guilds, what would it be?

CS: I would start with the idea that the guilds are only for men. We need to close the gender gap. Both women and men can do this job equally. But the mental shift has to happen in both men and women. Unfortunately, some women don’t allow other women to move forward in the industry. So it’s a problem of both genders.

CP: And what do you think is happening to change that? What needs to be done in Mexico to support more female cinematographers not only in the country but also to promote their work in other film industries around the world?

CS: We need better employment opportunities. The percentage of female cinematographers in Mexico is high. There are many women doing interesting things in the industry. We just need to be trusted with better projects that can be seen not only in Mexico but also in other countries.

CP: Anything else that you want to add?

CS: I’d like to invite your readers to check out Apertura DOP. We’re promoting the work of female cinematographers that are currently working in Mexico. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check out all the initiatives that we’re working on.

Consuelo Saldaña is a DP based in Mexico City where she was born and raised. With a background in Communications, in 2003 she received a Masters Degree in Cinematography at the Cinema and Audiovisual School of Catalonia in Spain. She has attended many film workshops, including one with French cinematographer Agnès Godard and a Master class with Australian-Hong Kong cinematographer Christopher Doyle. She has worked extensively in television and on shorts, documentaries, and commercials in Mexico and abroad.

This Month in the History of Photography

The following events occurred this month in the History of Photography:

On April, 1929 the magazine Kodak Salesman announced the release of the first Kodacolor ad to be published on the inside back cover of April’s Red Book.  George Eastman and the Kodak Company introduced the 16mm color motion picture film in 1928 but ironically the color ad wasn’t published until seven months later after the announcement. The ad features images of a woman documenting everyday domestic life with her Cine- Kodak and sharing these moments with the family followed by the slogan “You see them as they really are. In Kodacolor! [Home Movies in Full Color]”

Born on April 3, 1958, Francesca Woodman began photographing at the early age of 13. Raised into a family of artists, she soon followed the path of her parents and enrolled in art school at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Woodman’s provocative work experimented with different mediums including photography and motion picture films. Her career ended at an early age, when she took her life in 1981.


On April 9, 1951, Life Magazine published “Spanish Village”, an illustrated essay by American photographer W. Eugene Smith. In this journey, Smith documents the life of a rural town, Deleitosa in Spain, during the rule of Francisco Franco and it contains some of the most memorable images ever captured by Smith.

On April 11, 2018 the auction house Christie’s announced the sale of a portfolio by Diane Arbus for $792,500. A Box of Ten Photographs, as the auction house called this portfolio, included ten gelatin silver prints printed in the 1970s by Neil Selkirk, the only person ever authorized to make posthumous prints of Arbus, including the prints he made for the retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

On April 23, 1935, the exhibition Documentary and Anti-Graphic: Photographs by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Walker Evans opened at the New York gallery of art dealer and collector, Julian Levy. According to a recent publication by the publisher Steidel, “this was one the first exhibitions Henri Cartier-Bresson ever had”.

Taina Meller can’t stop touching the art!  An interview with the Eastman Museum’s Conservator in Charge

Taina Meller can’t stop touching the art!  An interview with the Eastman Museum’s Conservator in Charge

Originally from Finland, Taina Meller arrived in the United States planning to stay for a couple of years to continue her education in photo conservation. Fifteen years later, she still lives and works in Rochester, New York. She has devoted her career to working with images that she admired in the photography books that she studied when she was in school, not knowing that one day she will hold them and preserve them for others to see and enjoy as well. Meller is the Conservator in Charge at the George Eastman Museum, home of one of the most important photography collections in the world. In this interview she talks about her career, shares a story about one of her most challenging projects as a conservator, and gives advice to those that, like her, can’t stop touching the art.

Claudia Pretelin: Taina, please talk about your background and what drew you to work in conservation?

Photo by Michael Shuter

Taina Meller
: I am originally from far away Finland. Early on, I was studying photography and the history and aesthetics of it. I was drawn to historic photographic processes and soon started to explore and experiment with them. It was both tremendously exciting and liberating not to be restricted to the selection of photographic papers available. Instead, I could now go to art supply stores, which I continue to love. I would spend hours looking at, feeling (yes, touching!) and learning about the amazingly beautiful papers and their qualities. I wanted my prints to last!

At that point I had barely heard the word conservation, not to mention photograph conservation. Then, I more or less accidentally attended a lecture given by the then only photograph conservator in Finland, Riitta Koskivirta. After that lecture, I knew exactly what I wanted to be and do! I applied to a conservation school, got in, and soon was interning with the inspiring photograph conservator at The Finnish Museum of Photography.

CP: How did you transition from far away Finland to Rochester, New York?

TM: My mentor, Riitta, had spent a few years studying at the Rochester Institute of Technology, interning at the George Eastman Museum (then Eastman House) and finally working at the Image Permanence Institute (IPI) in Rochester, New York. When I graduated, she strongly encouraged me to apply to the Andrew W. Mellon funded Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation at the Eastman Museum and IPI. The plan was for me to return to Finland after the two-year fellowship, but more than fifteen years later, which includes two amazing years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, I am still here!

CP: What do you like the most about your job at the Eastman Museum?

TM: The museum’s amazing photography collection! When I was still studying photography, many of the textbooks had images of iconic photographs in the George Eastman Museum collection. Little did I know that one day I would have the privilege to work here and care for those very photographs! I am also blessed with wonderful colleagues, many of whom I greatly appreciate and enjoy both professionally and personally.

CP: What has been your most difficult assignment as a conservator?

TM: Not sure I can single out the most difficult assignment, but a couple of years ago my colleague Zach Long and I were working on a project that certainly was challenging. A panorama daguerreotype, photographed by William Southgate Porter in 1848 and depicting the Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia, needed to be rehoused and reframed. The object consists of eight daguerreotypes under a decorative cardboard window mat. Seven of the daguerreotypes are placed next to each other composing the actual panorama, and one above them, showing the point where the panorama was photographed. Originally the daguerreotypes had been taped directly to the back of the window mat, and the window mat had been in contact with the glazing of the frame. The mounting and framing were upgraded in the late 1970s, but unfortunately were no longer providing sufficient protection.

The rehousing was challenging for a number of reasons. First, the daguerreotype plates are unevenly cut and do not have a single straight corner. Secondly, the panorama has two junctures where, for visual reasons, it is necessary to overlap the edges of the plates. For preservation reasons, our goal was to secure the plates in a primary housing that would be made of non-hygroscopic and chemically stable materials, and would allow only a minimal amount of air within it. The window mat would be placed on top of the primary housing and there would be a spacer to separate the mat from the secondary glazing, an anti-reflective acrylic. The 1970s frame was not original to the object. It was decided to replace it with one that would provide more structural support and would, style-wise, match the period of the object.

After some serious brainstorming and testing, we decided to use chemically inert plastic called polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) to hold and secure the daguerreotypes in their correct positions. For the cover glass, we chose chemically strengthened glass, found, for example, in smartphones. To add rigidity to the plate package, we decided to place a thin sheet of aluminum behind the PETG plastic backing. Lastly, we chose pressure sensitive polyester film tape with acrylic adhesive as our binding material.

CP: What should be considered when taking on such an arduous task?

TM: Documentation is a key element in ethical conservation practice. Thus, in the course of the project, the daguerreotypes were thoroughly examined, their condition compared to the previous conservation reports and photographs, and new reports written and photographs taken. It was a lot of work over a lengthy period of time, but totally worth it. The panorama is now protected, hopefully for several decades to come, and it looks gorgeous!

CP: What is one thing about conservation that you think is important for people to understand?

TM: The ultimate goal of the field is to safeguard and preserve our tangible cultural heritage, to make it accessible for generations to come. All conservation activities, such as conservation treatments, are to respect the cultural significance and the physical properties of an object, and they should at all times be performed with the least possible intervention. So, the intention is not to make an object look like it is newly made, but rather stabilize it if needed, and perhaps most importantly, provide it with a housing and an environment that supports its optimal preservation.

CP: Besides patience, what are some particular skills that you feel are important or unique to your discipline?

TM: True interest and motivation, commitment to the profession. Wide knowledge of materials and technologies encountered in the creation of photographic objects. Willingness to continually learn. Good hand skills and an eye for detail.

CP: Do you have any advice for emerging conservators who are pursuing this career?

TM: Unfortunately the number of jobs available for photograph conservators is somewhat limited. However, if becoming a photograph conservator is your true calling, my advice is to follow your heart and go for it. That’s exactly what I did too, and I love it!

Taina Meller is the Conservator in Charge at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. After graduating from the EVTEK Institute of Art and Design in Vantaa, Finland, she worked as a photograph conservator for a number of major institutions in Helsinki, Finland, including The Finnish Museum of Photography and the Finnish National Gallery. In 2003, Ms. Meller became an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow of the Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation at the George Eastman Museum and the Image Permanence Institute in Rochester, New York. In 2005, she became the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Sherman Fairchild Center for Works on Paper and Photographic Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY. She returned to the George Eastman Museum in 2007 as Associate Conservator and has held her current position since 2009.

Exhibit Your Work in the International Phenomenon 6x6x2019!

Exhibit Your Work in the International Phenomenon 6x6x2019!

Each summer Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s 6×6 exhibition brings together thousands of original artworks, made and donated by international & local artists, designers, celebrities, youth, amateurs, and art lovers. This unique exhibition is RoCo’s annual fundraiser and this year it comes back in its 12th iteration as one of Rochester’s favorite traditions.

Every year artists from all over the world participate with artworks that can be produced in any medium the only stipulation is that the artworks are six inches square. Photography has always had a huge presence in this show that helps fund thoughtful contemporary art exhibitions in Rochester, New York. Just last year, RoCo received over 6500 artworks from all around the world and about 2000 of those entries were photographs. From portraits, landscapes, documentary, and street photography, all kinds of genres come in as donations from amateurs to professional artists.


Although artworks are anonymous during the course of the exhibition, once artworks have been sold the names of the artists are revealed on RoCo’s 6×6 website. In previous years, well know photographers from Carl Chiarenza and Richard Margolis to international figures such as Nathan Lyons and Hasselblad Award recipient Graciela Iturbide have exhibited in one or more editions of 6×6.


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To give you a sample of just a few of some of the amazing artworks that were on display last year, here’s a selection of some of our favorites. Do you want to learn more about how to participate in this exhibition? It’s very easy! Entries are accepted now through April 14 (postmarked April 13). Check out for more information and be part of the International Small Art Phenomenon!


Soy deYalálag: Entrevista con Citlali Fabián

Soy deYalálag: Entrevista con Citlali Fabián

Una pregunta fundamental en la historia de la fotografía es cómo nos representamos ante el mundo. Citlali Fabián aborda temas de identidad cultural utilizando técnicas fotográficas clásicas. Ella forma parte de una joven generación de fotógrafos que exploran y aprovechan las posibilidades del medio, dispuestos a experimentar y producir imágenes únicas y originales. Conocí a la artista durante su estancia en Rochester, Nueva York, donde me invitó amablemente a escribir un texto introductorio para su exposición individual Mestiza en la ciudad de Oaxaca el pasado mes de marzo. Esta invitación inició la siguiente conversación y mi interés por aprender más sobre su proceso creativo y sus ideas sobre identidad y fotografía.

Citlali Fabian

Claudia Pretelin: Durante las últimas décadas, ha habido un renacimiento de la daguerrotipia y la producción de placas de colodión entre los fotógrafos más jóvenes interesados en hacer uso artístico de los procesos fotográficos antiguos. ¿Cómo surge tu interés por trabajar imágenes en procesos como el colodión húmedo, el daguerrotipo o incluso las polaroids?

Citlali Fabián: Algo vital para mí, es que mi trabajo sea distintivo. En la era de lo digital, quería ofrecer esa alternativa la cual creo brinda una conexión más cercana e íntima con mi trabajo. Este interés nació de la búsqueda, de la experimentación, de por supuesto pasar por la cámara digital y darme cuenta que no era parte de mi proceso creativo. Mi proceso es pausado, y este tipo de fotografía requiere precisamente de tomarse el tiempo para hacerla, de ser un poquito más selectivo al momento de ver detrás de la lente.

“Me interesa documentar la cultura con sus transformaciones hoy en día y no sólo en Yalálag, sino en otros lugares donde las comunidades de yalaltecos se han cimentado y replicado sus tradiciones. “

CP: En la serie Soy de Yalálag documentas el día a día en tu comunidad. En el mundo globalizado de hoy, cómo ha podido Yalálag mantener sus tradiciones y cómo escoges qué tradiciones documentar.

CF: Creo estos procesos son parte del día a día. Es imposible aislarnos del mundo exterior y estos cambios son inevitables. Sin embargo hemos asimilado y transformado estos cambios desde dentro de la misma localidad. Por ejemplo, tenemos la danza de “Santa Claus” o la de los “Superhéroes” [Danzas de los yalaltecos para celebrar las fiestas patronales en las que los danzantes se visten de superhéroes como el Capitán América, Wolverine y Santa Claus.] que son representaciones satíricas de figuras americanas en una celebración tradicional de Yalálag. Me interesa documentar la cultura con sus transformaciones hoy en día y no sólo en Yalálag, sino en otros lugares donde las comunidades de yalaltecos se han cimentado y replicado sus tradiciones. Este es un proyecto a largo plazo.

Yalálag, Oaxaca. Credit Citlali FabiánCP: Otras imágenes tomadas en Yalálag como las de Lola Álvarez Bravo son un referente en la historia de tu comunidad. ¿Consideras que este trabajo en particular ha sido una influencia en tu obra o crees que existe una mirada interna que brinda una perspectiva distinta como parte de la comunidad de Yalálag?

CF: Las imágenes de Lola Álvarez Bravo no son tan conocidas en la comunidad. Quizá la más conocida es “Entierro en Yalálag”. Mientras estudiaba fotografía se volvieron una referencia para mí. Pero quizá lo que más llamó mi atención de su viaje a Yalálag son los pequeños textos que he podido leer de su experiencia. Esas notas en las que describe lo que vio en Yalálag. Incluso con el intervalo de tiempo entre nuestras imágenes, lo que ella describe es completamente familiar a lo que recuerdo de Yalálag. Quizás las imágenes de Julio de la Fuente sean más familiares a los yalaltecos. Estas fotografías se tomaron antes que las de Lola con una visión más antropológica.

CP: ¿Cómo surge la idea de Mestiza?

CF: La idea de Mestiza surgió mientras vivía en la ciudad de México. En ese momento estudiaba mi maestría en la UNAM y estaba llevando mi proyecto de investigación en torno a mi producción en colodión húmedo. Me interesaba estudiar primeramente los aspectos técnicos e históricos de la técnica. Anteriormente había trabajado mucho autorretrato. Sin embargo, por cuestiones técnicas continuar con el autorretrato no era viable. Tenía la idea de hacer representaciones de antiguas deidades zapotecas, de representar elementos que formaran parte de mi identidad. Hice algunos intentos infructuosos de autorretratos. Pero también empecé a hacer retratos lo que inmediatamente implicó desarrollar una relación y obtener una respuesta o reacción inmediata de las personas que posaban frente a mi cámara.From the series Mestiza

CP: ¿Cómo fue evolucionando este proyecto conforme fuiste retratando a tus sujetos?

CF: Este proceso me permitió comenzar una conversación colaborativa. Platicaba mucho con mis modelos, amigas cercanos sobre cómo se sentían al verse en estas piezas. La respuesta era muy similar. Había cierto escepticismo a las imágenes. Algunos no se reconocieron en esas imágenes, pero sintieron cierto eco del pasado. Algo del pasado se conectaba con nosotros a través de estos retratos. Recuerdo la primera vez que le pedí a alguien que posara para este proyecto; fue mi amiga íntima y también artista, Gabriela Zubillaga. Anteriormente le había ayudado a documentar algunas piezas escultóricas. Habíamos establecido una estrecha amistad y una conexión fotográfica. En esa sesión aparece como una diosa, vestida con un peñacho de Totomostle [un tocado hecho de maíz]. Fue como ver a Mayahuel [La diosa azteca del maguey] frente a mí. El proyecto se estaba develando frente a mí, guiándome para continuar. Entonces comencé a trabajar más con el maíz como elemento clave en mis fotografías. Llamé a más amigas y familia cercana para ir desarrollando estas representaciones de nuestra identidad. Una que diera ese reconocimiento a nuestras raíces y que nos uniera.


CP: ¿Qué imagen has perdido en el camino? Algo que atestiguaste y no tuviste tu cámara contigo para capturarlo

CF: Más que no tener la cámara en mano, hay ciertos momentos en los que emocionalmente no he podido hacer una imagen. Para mí los momentos más presentes fueron cuando murieron mis abuelos. De esos momentos guardo imágenes y recuerdos grabados en mi mente.

Citlali Fabián es un artista visual de Yalálag, un pequeño pueblo en Oaxaca, al sur de México. Se graduó como Licenciada en Fotografía en la Universidad Veracruzana. Cuenta con una certificación en Preservación y Manejo de Colecciones Fotográficas otorgado por el George Eastman Museum. Su proyecto fotográfico Mestiza apareció recientemente en el Blog Lens del periódico The New York Times y su proyecto más reciente aborda la imagen de la bandera estadounidense en el paisaje de los barrios residenciales de los Estados Unidos.

Si quieres ver más de su trabajo síguela en Instagram y en su página web.

From Yalálag: An Interview with Citlali Fabián

From Yalálag: An Interview with Citlali Fabián

How to represent oneself to the world is a fundamental question in the history of photography. By analyzing her own traditions and through her distinctive images, Citlali Fabián addresses issues of cultural identity using classic photographic techniques. She is part of a young generation of photographers exploring and pushing on the possibilities of the medium, willing to experiment and to produce pictures that are unique and original. I met the artist during her time living in Rochester, New York where she kindly invited me to write an introductory text for her solo exhibition Mestiza at Centro Cultural San Pablo in Oaxaca City this past March. This invitation initiated the following conversation pursuing my interest to learn more about her creative process and her ideas about identity and photography.

Citlali FabianClaudia Pretelin: During the past few years, there has been a revival of the daguerreotype and the production of wet-collodion plates among younger photographers interested in making artistic use of early photographic processes. What led to your interest in daguerreotypes, wet-collodion plates, and even Polaroids?

Citlali Fabián: Something vital for me is for my work to be distinctive. In the digital era I wanted to offer this alternative that, I believe, creates a closer and more intimate connection with it. This interest was born from a personal search, from experimentation, from using a digital camera, and from realizing that it was not part of my creative process. My creative process is slower and this kind of photography requires me to take the time to make it, to be a little more selective when you see behind the lens.


“I’m interested in documenting any cultural transformation, not only in Yalálag, but also in other places where Yalaltecos have migrated and replicated their traditions.”

CP: In the series I am from Yalálag, you photograph the everyday life of your community. In today’s globalized world, how do Yalaltecos keep their local traditions and how do you choose which traditions to document?

CF: These traditions are part of everyday life. It is impossible to be isolated from the outside world and changes are inevitable. However, I think we’ve assimilated these changes and transformed them within our community. For example, we have “The Dance of Santa Claus” and “The Dance of Superheroes” [Performative dances by Yalaltecos to celebrate patron saint days in which performers embrace the image of superheroes such as Captain America, Wolverine and Santa Claus] which are satirical enactments of American figures in a traditional celebration from Yalálag. I’m interested in documenting any cultural transformation, not only in Yalálag, but also in other places where Yalaltecos have migrated and replicated their traditions. This is a long-term project.
Yalálag, Oaxaca. Credit Citlali FabiánCP: Other photographs taken in Yalálag, such as Lola Álvarez Bravo’s come to mind when thinking about your community. Does this work have influenced you or do you think that you have an inside look that gives a different perspective of Yalálag?

CF: Lola Álvarez Bravo’s images are not so well know in my community. The most well know is “Burial in Yalálag”. While I was studying photography they became a reference for me. Perhaps what interested me the most about her trip to Yalálag were the small texts I read about her experience. In those texts she describes what she saw in Yalálag. Even with the time gap between our images, what she describes is completely familiar to what I remember from Yalálag. Perhaps the images by Julio de la Fuente are more familiar to Yalaltecos. These photographs were taken before Lola’s with a more anthropological point of view.

CP: How did you come up with the idea of Mestiza?

CF: I came up with the idea of Mestiza while I was living in Mexico City. At the time, I was enrolled in the Master’s program at UNAM and I was directing my research project towards the production of wet-collodion plates. I was interested in studying the technical and historical aspects of this process. Prior to this, I had worked with self-portraiture. However, due to technical difficulties it was not possible to continue with self-portraits. I had this idea to make representations of Zapotec deities, to represent elements that were part of my identity. I also began to make portraits that allowed me to develop a relationship with and an immediate reaction from the people that posed in front of my camera.From the series Mestiza

CP: How did the project evolve as you created the portraits of your subjects?

CF: This process allowed me to start a collaborative conversation. I talked to my models, close friends of mine, about how they felt seeing themselves in these pieces. I got similar responses. There was certain skepticism about these images. Some did not recognize themselves in those images but felt a certain echo from the past. Something from the past was connecting with us through these portraits. I remember the first time I asked someone to pose for this project; it was my close friend and also an artist, Gabriela Zubillaga. I had previously helped her to document some sculptural and performance pieces. We had established a close friendship and a photographic connection. In that session she appears like a goddess, wearing a peñacho de Totomostle [a headdress made out of corn]. It was like seeing Mayahuel [The Aztec Goddess of the Maguey] in front of me. The project was developing in front of my eyes, guiding me to continue. Then I started to work more with corn as a key element in my photographs. I called my close friends and family and together we developed these representations of our identity as a way of acknowledging and unifying our roots.

CP: What images have you lost along the way? Maybe something that you’ve witnessed but you didn’t have your camera to capture it?

CF: More than not having the camera in my hand, there are certain moments in which emotionally I can’t make an image. The moments that I remember the most are when my grandparents died. From those moments I only keep images and memories in my mind.

Citlali Fabián is a visual artist from Yalálag, a small town in Oaxaca, southern Mexico. She holds a B.A. in Photography from the Universidad Veracruzana and a Certificate in Photographic Preservation and Collection Management from the George Eastman Museum. Her ongoing work Mestiza was featured on The New York Times’ Lens blog and her most recent project addresses the image of the American flag in the landscape of residential neighborhoods in the United States.

If you want to check out more of her work follow her on Instagram and/or her website.




Focus 45: Claudia Pretelin, From the Kodak Girl to the Kodak Snapshot: Kodak Advertising 1920–1940

Early Kodak advertising is mostly associated with the iconic image of the Kodak Girl. Then in the 1930s, Eastman Kodak Company turned their advertising campaigns over to the New York advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. How did this change affect the public image of Kodak? Claudia Pretelin, art historian, will explore this era of Kodak advertising and how it created the basis for the so-called snapshot aesthetic. GEM-2017-Focus45-July-Eflyer

Claudia Pretelin holds a BA in communications and received her MA and PhD in art history from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). For ten years, she worked as a personal assistant to the Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide. In 2011, she was awarded a fellowship from the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) in support of her continuing research in Kodak advertising at the George Eastman Museum. She has worked for different museums, foundations, and photo collections in Mexico City, including the Fotoseptiembre Festival in 1999 and the International Biennial of Photography in 2000. She is currently exhibitions associate at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center in Rochester, New York.

Event Details

Saturday, July 22, 2017
12 p.m.
Curtis Theatre
George Eastman Museum