Friday, September 22, 2006

Mexico City 1897

As a pioneer in the field of sewerage management, Johann Dieter Wassmann travelled extensively in Europe, the Americas and the Asia/Pacific. In 1897 he made his final trip, taking in Mexico City, where he consulted with city officials on the ponderous task of devising a gravity sewerage system for a city built at the bottom of a valley in a lake.
Unfortunately, most of his travels were as a younger man, prior to gaining an interest in photography, so they went largely undocumented. By 1897, however, his photographic skills were finely-honed, as was his dexterity with the new hand-held roll film cameras widely available in the 1890s, allowing unprecidented mobility and spontineity for the photographer. Nowhere is this more evident than in his breathtakingly modernist Mexico City portfolio, reminiscent of the early work of Manual Alvarez Bravo. Pictured:
JOHANN DIETER WASSMANN, untitled, Mexico City, 1897. Albumen silver print, 23 x 18 cm, WF 898028.

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