Gertrude Duby Blom exhibit photographs, 1941-2004 and undated 9 Linear Feet — Approx. 420 items
Collection comprises 71 black-and-white exhibit prints featuring images taken by anthropologist, activist, and journalist Gertrude Duby Blom between 1941 and 1979 in the highland jungles and towns of the state of Chiapas, Mexico. The photographs were printed in 1982 by Barry Norris, Blom's close friend and collaborator, for a major exhibition of her work that opened in 1984 in New York City.
The landscapes and portraits taken by Blom depict the cultural and ecological environments inhabited by indigenous Maya, predominantly the Lacandon, but also neighboring Tzotzil and Tzeltal; there are also images of Latino immigrants to the region, chiefly lumber industry workers and their families, and other townspeople in San Cristobal. Scenes from camps and towns portray mealtimes, hunting and gathering expeditions, agricultural customs, religious ceremonies, folk Catholicism and its rituals, classrooms, medical clinics, and street scenes. Later images attest to the destruction of native ecosystems and the rapidly changing culture of the indigenous peoples. The matted gelatin silver prints vary in size from 11x14 to 22x22 inches; there is also one 26x26 inch matted print.
Accompanying the photographs are files of project correspondence, notes, publicity, and other materials (1983-2004) documenting the collaboration between Alex Harris, documentary photographer of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and individuals in Mexico and the U.S., which resulted in a major international traveling exhibit, "People of the forest: photographs of the Maya by Getrude Blom," launched in 1984, and the publication of a book of essays and images, "Gertrude Blom: bearing witness" (1984), edited by Alex Harris and Margaret Sartor.
Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.