Manuel Álvarez Bravo is considered the most significant representative of 20th-Century Latin American photography and one of the great Mexican artists. His subject matter included folk art, nudes, and burial rituals and decorations. His best-known works are the beautiful "Good Reputation, Sleeping" from 1939 (MS 317), and the disturbing "Striking Worker Assassinated" from 1934.
Manuel Álvarez Bravo was born in Mexico City. He met Hugo Brehme, a German photographer in 1923, and soon after he bought his first camera and began to study photography seriously. In 1925, he married Dolores Martinez de Anda, who was to become a respected photographer in her own right, as Lola Alvarez Bravo. The same year Manuel Bravo won a first prize at a local photography competition in Oaxaca, and in 1927 he met Tina Modotti who introduced him to the thriving arts scene in post-revolutionary Mexico City.
He began a career as a professional in 1928 and received important encouragement from Edward Weston in 1929.
In 1935, Manuel Álvarez Bravo participated in a groundbreaking photography exhibit with Walker Evans and Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York City. Also in the 1930s, he taught photography at the San Carlos Academy. Between 1943 and 1959, he worked as a photographer in the Mexican film industry.