Saturday, April 7, 2012

Austin American Statesman :: Timeless Mexico

Timeless Mexico
By Susan Toomey Frost
Buy It Now
By Charles Ealy

Susan Toomey Frost was researching the history of tile-making in San Antonio when she came across an image of a young woman in traditional folkloric dress in a Mexico doorway.

At first, she was mainly interested in the tile surrounding the door because that would help her figure out what kinds of tiles were being made in Mexico at the time and would help her distinguish whether tiles in San Antonio were made locally or imported.

But during her research, she began to acquire more images of Mexico, primarily on vintage postcards, and realized that she was drawn to the photographs not because of the tiles but because of "the inherent beauty of the subject matter."

And that's when she began to notice that the same photographer — Hugo Brehme — was responsible for nearly all of the images.

"Thus, a new obsession had begun," Frost writes. "I had to find out who Brehme was, and I had to collect more of his work."

By 2009, Frost had more than 1,900 Brehme items that she collected over 15 years.

That archive of images, which Frost donated to the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos in 2009, makes up the bulk of the new book "Timeless Mexico." The book is part of the Southwestern and Mexican Photography Series edited by Wittliff.

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