Rare Vintage Prints 1947 - 1984
Josée Bienvenu Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of the never before shown vintage prints of renowned photographer Enrique Metinides. Often referred to as "the Mexican Weegee", Metinides is known for his images of car accidents, suicides, explosions, accidental electrocutions, train derailments, murders, and plane crashes. As early as the age of twelve, Metinides was working side by side with the rescue teams, photographing the tragic scenes. "No one thought anything of a kid, even one with a camera. I became the youngest photojournalist in the city. In the morning, I took pictures of the dead, in the afternoon, I went to school." From the late 1940's until his retirement in 1993, Enrique Metinides worked for Mexican tabloids such as La Prensa and Crimen. His work defined the "nota roja" or "bloody news", a genre noted for its sensationalism.
While taking as its initial subject scenes of wreckage and mutilated bodies, Metinides' work also focuses on the gathering crowds, the bewildered and transfixed passers-by. His photographs are poignant examinations of spectatorship imbued with cinematographic qualities and an otherworldly element achieved, in part, by the use of daylight flash. In many photographs, crowds have gathered around the scene of an accident but they are not looking at the scene , they are staring into the photographer's lens, they are staring at us. In that sense, the photos are less about death than they are about our own fascination with it.
The exhibition brings for the first time to the public a selection of fifty of the only original vintage prints known to still exist and offers a new insight to his rich universe, revealing the most intimate side of his work. For instance, a collection of photographs of car crashes taken in his neighborhood, constitutes his personal work before he became a professional photojournalist. They were first printed on a very small scale and subsequently published in La Prensa.
Enrique Metinides was born in 1934 in Mexico City where he still lives. He stopped photographing professionally in 1993 when he left La Prensa. He now mostly stays home, cataloguing video footage of live accidents from television for a growing personal archive. He also collects objects, including more than 4000 model ambulances and police cars. His work was first brought to the attention of the art world in 2000 with his first solo exhibition at the Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte in Mexico D.F., followed by two London exhibitions: at the Royal College in 2002 and at the Photographer's gallery in 2003. Represented in Mexico by Kurimanzutto, Metinides' international recognition as an artist has continued to grow with his first US exhibitions at Blum and Poe in Los Angeles in 2006 and Anton Kern in New York last year, both received with critical acclaim.
Image: 1982, Accidente en la carretera. Vintage silver gelatin print 9.8 x 13.8 in (25 x 35 cm)
Opening reception: Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm
Josée Bienvenu gallery
529 West 20th Street New York, NY 10011