no break in the chain    I was looking through one of those lists of out-of-print books you can find on the web and, I don’t know why, I came across the low-resolution sleeve of a book with comments in Polish on it.

The writer’s name was in larger letters than the title: Adela Legorreta Rivas.

I did a search for Adela Legorreta Rivas. And I wasn’t expecting everything that came up. 29th April, 1979. 14:00. Chapultepec Avenue. Mexico City. Journalist and writer Adela Legorreta Rivas has just come out of the hairdresser’s. She’s going to her sister’s house. On foot. In a couple of hours’ time she’s going to go with her to the presentation of her latest book. She’s on the pavement. Waiting for a green light...
the man who was there

Then, suddenly, two cars crashed into each other. And, in the midst of all the chaos, the white Datsun which Death was driving crashed Adela Legorreta Rivas against the traffic light. Enrique Metidines, was on Chapultepec Avenue at 14:00 on 29th April, 1979. His camera in his hand. And the photo he took then tells us everything which happened afterwards. A man from the Red Cross with a blanket in his hand, ready to cover up the writer’s body. Far-off pedestrians looking on with curiosity. The Datsun’s caved-in left wing. And Adela Legorreta Rivas, dressed and bejewelled for her date with Death. “It’s a beautiful photo... With all that make-up she doesn’t look dead” was what Enrique Metidines had to say. There’s nothing crude about his words. It’s the way somebody who’s worked on the streets of Mexico over five decades speaks. The consequences of having Death as a workmate. I did a search with his name. Enrique Metidines. Dozens of photos. Bad luck, accidents, death in almost all of them. Like a vulture, this Mexican photographer smells blood before it’s spilt. But from all of the pictures my search came up with one doesn’t fit in. It looks different. I click on it. I haven’t got it wrong. There’s a different signature on it.

angels are female in gender

Graciela Iturbide’s signature is on the photo. A cross and birds. Death and life. Black and white. That’s what Mexico is like. Extreme. A country which dresses in grey, black or white. And the angel. The invisible angel. Graciela Iturbide does portraits of angels. A woman as oppressed as she is proud. The type of women who have iguanas in their heads. Iguanas in their heads and looking into the distance. The past and the future. Graciela Iturbide, like Adela Legorreta, has a Basque surname – we Basques can’t help noticing that sort of thing – and she’s one of the best-known photographers in Mexico. She’s spent years photographing the indigenous people of Mexico. Another section of her work is travel agencies. But she always has a very personal viewpoint. The poetry of her photography has three axes. Simplicity, depth and symbolism. And, above all, what she has written on the scrap of paper which is hanging over the photos in her laboratory: ̈time... there’s always time ̈.