Manuel Carrillo, who participated in over three hundred exhibitions in twenty-two countries, entered the field of photography in 1955, at the age of 49. Adolfo Ruis Cotines, his uncle and a future president of Mexico, gave a very young Carrillo his first camera, which he immediately traded for some marbles. "How stupid not to have found out then that my destiny was to be photography," he stated later. From his first U.S. exhibition at the Chicago Public Library in 1960, Carrillo went on to produce a tremendous body of work, now located internationally in public and private collections.

Carrillo's primary subjects were the people of Mexico, the richness of the Mexican culture, and the importance of family and tradition. While Carrillo frequently photographed people out-of-doors in the midst of daily activities, this studio portrait of a young girl with her doll corresponds to the portion of Carrillo’s work that consciously comments on internal and external realities. The girl and her doll initially appear quite similar with the same disheveled hair and lacy costume. However, the smooth, clear skin and sober, almost expressionless, face of the child contrasts with the perpetually animate, freckled face of the doll. Carrillo even emphasized the child's eyes and eyebrows in a doll-like fashion by spot-toning directly onto the surface of the print. In the end, the doll has seemingly acquired the attributes of a happy child, and the child the closed facade of a doll.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

If you have questions about this work of art or the MFAH Online Collection please contact us.

Manuel Carrillo, Mexican, 1906–1989
no date
Gelatin silver print
Image: 12 5/16 × 8 15/16 in. (31.3 × 22.7 cm) Sheet: 14 × 10 15/16 in. (35.6 × 27.8 cm)
Credit Line

The Sonia and Kaye Marvins Portrait Collection, museum purchase funded by Sonia and Kaye Marvins

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number

Research ongoing