Pedro Guerra photo library, a great graphic legacy of Yucatan

A window to the past and way to learn about the idiosyncrasies of Meridanos and Yucatecans of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are offered to the visitors of the FILEY Book Fair, who can enjoy a selection of photo images that portray everyday aspects and some customs that have already disappeared, such as taking a photograph with late relatives in a manner of a last goodbye.

Isabel García Franco, the person in charge of the Pedro Guerra Fototeca stand at FILEY, talked with Punto Medio about the importance of the task that the Autonomous University of Yucatan assumed 42 years ago, to safeguard and preserve in good condition the photographic material produced from 1877 to 1975, which has an online catalog with 66 thousand images that can be consulted on the site

Pedro Guerra Jordán was a young Yucatecan who learned the trade in the establishment originally called Artistic Photography and Company, from the Spaniard José Huertas, who left the city shortly after, so Don Pedro stayed with the establishment and was instructed in photographic techniques.

“Here we have a small sample of the wonderful things that the lens of Pedro Guerra captured, and some printed images are on sale in which we can admire what the original building of the Olimpo was like, or the Main Square at the end of the 19th century, but we can also observe details of the clothing and daily life of those times, as in this image of a hairdresser in which only men appear, and customs such as portraying the family with their best clothes, since then it was a privilege to take a picture,” explained the interviewee.

Many famous personalities of the artistic, literary and political world paid visits to the Guerra studio, the most famous of its time. In this way, the public can know the physiognomy of illustrious characters such as Olegario Molina Solís, Rodolfo Menéndez de la Peña, Delio Moreno Cantón and Antonio Mediz Bolio.

On the other hand, the young FILEY attendee Analía Balam Chacón commented that one of the attractions of the Guerra stand at FILEY is the mural with spaces for visitors to see their faces and take a photo memento.

“The reason that we are here is to promote the catalog of the Fototeca that was recently awarded by Unesco, we are proud to say that we are cultural heritage of the graphic memory,” said Isabel García Franco, who is also a student of Social Communication, who highlighted that the Fototeca is located on 76th Street between 41 and 43, the site of the Faculty of Anthropology until a few years ago.

“There are several activities carried out such as the conservation of images, which implies having the ideal temperature and moisture level, in addition to restoration work, laboratory activities, cataloging, research and dissemination. We want these images to be preserved for the knowledge of future generations and to know how to value these moments that belong to their history,” she concluded.

Text: Manuel Pool Moguel
Photo: Amílcar Rodríguez

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