Photographs and text by Gertrude Blom, edited by Alex Harris and Margaret Sartor, with an introduction by Alex Harris
Published by the University of North Carolina Press/CDS Books, 1984
For Gertrude Blom, photography expresses an intense love for a vanishing culture and landscape. A woman of remarkable courage and determination, Blom devoted her life to the Ladino and Mayan peoples of Chiapas, Mexico since she arrived in that country in 1940 with other political refugees from Europe. The extraordinary photographs in this volume, taken over a period of forty years, bear witness not only to Blom’s distinctive vision of the land and people of Chiapas, but also to her tireless commitment to their protection.
“It is particularly in her photographs of the Lacandones and their jungle environment that Blom joins the ranks of other great social observers with a camera, like Laura Gilpin, Dorothea Lange, and Eugene Smith, photographers who earned the trust of their subjects, in part, because they cared a great deal for the lives and fates of the people they portrayed. What separates Blom from these photographers, and makes her extensive body of work seem particularly impressive, is that her photography is not a primary concern. Blom’s photographs are a by-product of her many other activities over the years. In Mexico she has been part journalist, social activist, and explorer, part anthropologist, photographer, and ecologist, and, it would not be an exaggeration to state, part legend.”
– Alex Harris, from the introduction