Mexico: A Century of Nat Geo Photography

This portrait of an eighty-year-old basket weaver in Chihuahua, taken by Robb Kendrick, is one of a the select photographs on display at the Mexican Cultural Institute in D.C. now through October 22nd. You can find more information at the end of this article.
Mexico has permeated the pages of National Geographic; indeed more than 150 feature articles have been written about the country in the last 100 years of the Magazine’s history. To celebrate this relationship, the Mexican Cultural Institute and National Geographic are exhibiting a selection of photography (at the institute, in D.C.), from the article archives. 
Two weeks ago, I attended the exhibition opening at the Cultural Institute, in the mansion that used to serve as Mexico’s embassy. Inside, the murals of Roberto Cueva del Río carried my mind to the Diego Rivera paintings in the Presidential Palace of Mexico City. The gold, mahogany, and red upholstery of the luxurious sitting rooms on the 3rd floor of the Institute brought me back in time to the 18th century. It was the perfect setting to be transported across time and space through the imagery of National Geographic photographers. Each of these photographs records not only a place far removed to the American readers of National Geographic, but also an adventure across the geography of barriers to that place. Like the murals of Cueva del Río, they transport you through time and space to places you never thought you would see. 
The photographs are organized by themes that reflect the editorial focuses of National Geographic coverage over the years: explorers, the Maya, nature, the border, people, and “the photographic eye,” the latter acknowledging the role of foreign photographers in shaping a perspective of Mexicans and their cultures. 
Many of the photographs are from extremely old articles; some were never even published in the Magazine. In this post I’ll share some of those photos for our readers who can’t make it to the physical exhibition. Also included are factoids and quotes from the corresponding articles.

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