SeriesEnrique Metinides

(Kominek, 2011)

The son of a Mexico City restaurant owner, twelve-year-old Enrique Metinides (fueled by a love of cowboy and gangster films) photographed his first corpse; and with that, what would become the celebrated career of a Master of the Morbid had begun. Over the next fifty years (1943-1993) Metinides, also known as the “Mexican Weegee”, provided an endlessly grisly catalogue of death, misery and violence for various Mexican tabloids.

The memories of his early cinematic experiences would continue to influence the composition and technique of Metinides’ work throughout his career: “I’m a photographer by accident, who took photos by chance thanks to movies that I saw and tried to imitate, like a director of a scene.” The streets of Mexico City were Metinides’ theatrical movie set; obsessively scanning the emergency radio channels, he also volunteered to work with the ambulance teams, giving him instant access to the next macabre spectacle.

Unlike American photojournalist Weegee, Metinides’ camera does not confront his subjects with aggressive perversity. Although gruesome and always uncompromising, Metinides captures moments of fatal misfortune with a discreet, humanist empathy. Whether it is images of a mother cradling the empty coffin of her dead child or a distraught woman sitting in a park next to the lifeless body of her fiancé, these intimate and often poignant images rarely venture into tabloid sensationalism.

Series places Metinides’ signature frames within the wider context of the narrative. It not only highlights the sequential and cinematic qualities of his images, but also emphasizes the ambiguity between the representation of fact and fiction, which lies at the heart of Metinides’ work. The compelling qualities of these images is beautifully presented in this provocative and creatively designed title, and wonderfully illustrates the absurd and random unpredictability of life.

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