Leica Store SF Books

The Mexicanas - Paola Bragado


The Mexicanas is a play of double series and double exposures; a play whose board is reminiscent of an old-fashioned, variegated diaporama.

The first of these series, dating back to early 2015, consists of images that seem to come out of a collector’s cupboard for old photographs: lost scenes from travelogues that may have gone through too many hands, too many moves; over-exposed, piled, untied from any specific time or space. Images of Mexico City, as charming in their surface effects—veiled, dyed, perforated, overlapped—as seemingly unwarranted.

Thus, more than views, these images are above all modest exercises on the obstruction of the gaze: fabrics, velvet foldings, raffia curtains and unfurled canvases interposing one screen after another; branches and trees that may rather be looms or laces; veils that are also crystals, reflections and textures.

After this parade of gauzes, clichéd images come and go before our eyes to the rhythm of a postcard trolley spinning in a flea market: rusty gringo cars and hotel facades; street cake stands and billboards showing charro characters; deco-style illustrations of refined women and cheap plastic miniature ballerinas; the v-neck of a pachuco shirt, Chinese lamps, double-brimmed straw hats, the long feather of a pheasant.

But there is more to it. Also, there are images that seem to be late for a date: closed gates made of iron, raw canvas awnings secured by ropes that may be part of a dismantled urban camp, or a police unit crossed, in the foreground, by a figure on horseback that is just about to disappear. And finally—as an intruder in this series coming to announce the following—we find the headless body of a woman; her hands at the height of her hips, the fold of her skirt yellowished by celluloid chemicals.

As if this world, between the cliche and an extreme opacity, was not hers at all.

An enchanted world, no doubt. But what kind of enchantment is this? Who haunts, and who is haunted by the ghosts that inhabit it? The spectral and overexposed city in these photographs is nothing but the materialization of a white noise over which other images—The Mexicanas—strive to come into view.

Mexican, but also Spanish, Brazilian, Colombian… the images of these women, overexposed and interspersed in that carousel of worn-out stereotypes, compose a second series and respond to a different working process. These are portraits of women who, in the interior halls of the Barba Azul cabaret in Mexico City—where they work as ficheras—, have lent their image so a gesture, that is no longer their own, may appear: nor the spectacular gesture that stigmatizes them inside the ballroom, nor the documentary gesture that naturalizes them in the closed circuit of their intimate spaces.

On the contrary, these gestures strive to bring out a figure that is rehearsed in the encounter with the camera. They are, as it were, the shapes of a joint effort to give themselves an image. Against the spectral quality that exposes them to disappear, these gestures  attest to an effort to appear and invent a common gesture.

Miguel Errazu, “Re-exposure.” This insert accompanies the Paola Bragado’s exhibition catalogue, The Mexicanas (Cuadernos de la Kursala no. 81. Cádiz and Mexico City: Kursala and HydraInframundo, 2021).

— —

First Edition
Details: Hardcover, accordion, 8 x 6 inches


Ask Us A Question

Product information

All our shipments are fully insured. For shipments valued over $200, a direct signature will be required upon delivery.

We utilize various shipping carriers, with FedEx Express being our primary choice for 2-Day and Overnight shipping within the US, as well as International deliveries.

We accept returns within 14 days of delivery, subject to a restocking fee of up to 15%. This fee is not for profit, but to cover the costs associated with selling an item. Each return is evaluated individually, and we strive to minimize this fee. In many instances, we waive it entirely if the refund credit can be applied towards another item in the store.

Please note, all returned items must be in the condition in which they were shipped. If the items are returned in a different condition, we will not be able to accept them.

We highly recommend visiting us in person to experience our fine photographic tools before deciding which tool best fits your needs. Please note that our inventory is distributed among our three stores, and what you see online may be at any of these locations. Below are a few points that we’d like to make in order to meet your needs for in store pick up.

The location of each item is indicated online. For convenience, you can choose to pick up your item at any of our stores. Once purchased, the item should be ready for pick up within 4 hours at the designated store, although this might vary depending on the store's busyness and time of day. We request that you wait for a notification from us confirming that your order is ready for pick up, to ensure the best service.

If your chosen item is not available at your preferred store, we can transfer it there after purchase. If you want to pick up an item at a different store, select that store for pick up during checkout, or choose a regular shipping method and let us know your preferred pick up store via support@camerawest.com or by responding to your order confirmation email.

For any questions about in-store pick up, please email support@camerawest.com. We'll do our best to accommodate your needs.

We offer a concierge trade-in program for the gear you'd like to upgrade, cross-grade, or simply pass on to a new owner. This enables you to acquire the tools that fit your specific needs. The easiest way to trade is to bring your gear into one of our stores and meet with us in person. However, we also accommodate those who can't visit our stores. Our online process is both personal and simple.

To begin, fill out the form on our Trade // Sell page with the details of the fine photographic equipment or watches you'd like to trade in. One of our team members will then contact you to confirm any details we might need for an accurate estimate. We will provide an estimate that doesn’t only look at the value of your trade in but the whole picture of where you want to go. If the estimate is satisfactory to you, we can provide a shipping label for you to ship your gear to one of our stores for a final inspection and store credit. Finally, we apply that credit towards your new gear!