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A Journey to Yucatán

By Jesús Aguado

More than 100 photographs taken in 1946 are being exhibited at Casa de Cultura BANAMEX. The exhibit is open to the general public, it is free, and there are guided tours.

After climbing volcanoes in the country, Armando Salas Portugal one day decided to get his backpack and his camera to go in search of the archeological vestiges of the Yucatán. When he arrived, his plans changed because he knew a man who was able to take him by ship to the sea and land all around the peninsula. There his images captured vestiges of animals, birds, plants, and all things that had not been touched yet by development or technology.

Along with more than 100 black and white images in the exhibition, there are some paragraphs from a letter that Salas Portugal addressed to a friend from his childhood. “I have been in so many fishing towns that you could only see in your dreams. We have been on islets where there are herons, flamingos, and thousands of birds. We have gone in boats through tropical rivers, fishing for mojarras (prey and bait fish) and big fish. In the sea I caught a 200-kilo tintorera (blue shark)….”

Armando Salas Portugal was born in Monterrey in 1916. He grew up in Mexico City and later studied chemistry at the University of California in Los Angeles. His love for photography started after a trip to Mexico when he was at the university. He had a passion for travel, exploration, and nature.

Salas Portugal always had the idea of publishing an atlas of the Mexican landscape, and he worked on it for his whole life. With that idea he traveled to Mexico, exploring the landscape, the campo, the roads and tracks, and old architecture with his camera.

The exhibition will be open until November at the Casa del Mayorazgo de la Canal on calle Canal 4. Entrance is free from Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 6pm (subject to change without prior notice).


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