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Special Collections Presents Carrillo in Color

Gaby Velasquez
UTEP’s Special Collections Department held the opening reception for the Carrillo in Color photography exhibition on Friday, Oct. 19 at the third floor of the library.

The UTEP Special Collections Department hosted an exhibition of never-before-seen colored images from the late Mexican photographer Manuel Carrillo on Oct. 19, at the UTEP Library.

The exhibition featured dozens of Carrillo’s colored photographs depicting the indigenous and unpopular Mexican culture in every form and color.

“I really love his image of a lady who is sitting down with the words ‘TLAPALERIA’ above her,” said Crystal Costa, Public Health graduate student. “You can tell she didn’t know she was being photographed, it’s very real.”

Like his black and white work, Carrillo’s colored photographs displayed life in rural Mexico and showed the people of Mexico going about life unaware of his lens capturing the moment.

“His colored photos almost seem happier and it works well,” said Ashley Herrera, Special Collections Intern. “The color from the photos almost makes you feel the people living.”

But unlike Carrillo’s black and white photos, there were several colored photos that displayed abstract subjects such as fish, a flower, a truck, architecture and other arbitrary objects that are not found in his work displayed at museums all over the world.

“There one image with a door, it was so simple but it captured—curiosity. It was sort of leading you somewhere like an invitation to ask, what’s on the other side of that door,” Costa said.

Following his death in 1989, UTEP purchased hundreds of Carrillo’s photographs, slides and negatives from his widow Consuelo in 1990. It wasn’t until photo archivist David Flores recently discovered an assortment of untouched colored images from Carrillo’s work.

“He is not known for his color work at all and when I came across them I gathered a selection and suggested an exhibit of this never-before-seen work,” Flores said. “People don’t or wouldn’t know this side of him.”

The exhibition also presented Carrillo’s photography awards, magazines he was featured in and other small artifacts that were sold with his collection.

UTEP is the only institution that holds Carrillo’s original work and a large portion has yet to be touched or examined.

“We selected photographs that emphasized the color then we digitalized them and then grouped them according to the subjects and color,” said Chantel Diaz, a Kinesiology student, and Special Collections employee. “There are still a ton of boxes of his work that we need to digitalize.”

Among the hundreds of photos, UTEP holds all of Carrillo’s colored and black and white photos are not dated but can be assumed they were captured from the 50’s, when he began photographing, to the early 80’s when his career began to dwindle down.

A small quote was displayed with his work at the exhibition reading:

“Unfortunately, I never dated my photographs, as I did not consider it necessary,” Carillo said. “A photograph that appeals to your taste will be kept in mind regardless of the date. What is more, when a person asks me which my last photograph is, I answer that it is the one that they have not seen.”

Carrillo’s colored photos will be displayed on the third floor in the Library until Nov. when they will be removed and will return for display in Jan. 2019


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Gaby Velasquez, Photo editor
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Special Collections Presents Carrillo in Color