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This is the first time that I would like that this column had another design, with many photos, and if it is possible large. If you thought about it well, if you had another personality, if you were an entrepreneur or a dilettante I am, I called the editor of the supplement and the hubier was offered to write a note so that the photographs could be appreciated at their fair value. But no, no lo hice, y aquí estoy, appealing to readers to find the photos on Google. Because this column is about photography; the best said, by a photographer. From one of the best photographers of the XX century.

When making the list of the greats, one usually thinks about Cartier Bresson, Man Ray, Kertész, Capa. But never with Enrique Metinides, the most extraordinary Latin American police photographer. Metinides was born in Mexico City in 1934 and died a few months ago, on May 10, in his house, surrounded by miniature trains and ambulances. For decades, El Niño (the nickname he received because he started photographing for 12 years) published his footage in the Mexican daily La Prensa, and in magazines like ¡Crimen y Alarma! modifying forever what we mean by police photo. In Mexico, there is a beautiful expression to designate the police chronicle: red note. Pues el mundo de Metinides is full of accidents, shootings, deaths, violence, but nothing red. In his pictures of him, you practically never see blood. In an interview, he said: “I was very impressed with a film where there was a scene of an explosion. The director never showed the building in flames, but the shadows of these in the faces of the people who observed”. And there it sums up a good part of his aesthetics: it may bleed, but change a lot of urban details and faces of anonymous people. In his photos of him (shocked cars, electrocuted bodies, salvage shootings) he had a group of onlookers around the drama, like a chorus of a Greek tragedy in the middle of the Mexican megalopolis.

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Why not think of Metinides as one of the greatest photographers in history? Perhaps because, unlike literature, photography continues to ruminate in terms of cultured photos and smaller genres. No literary critic has ever read it today to decide that the detective novel is a minor genre. But still in photography. Placing Metinides alongside Cartier Bresson continues to be rare. By the way, Weegee –something like the New York equivalent of Metinides– is perhaps more known than the Mexican by the strength of the North American commercial apparatus (¡De Weegee buys dozens of postcards in New York and Metinides did not succeed in one sole in my primer travel to Mexico!) but his work (less focused on the police scene and with more presence of daily life and social life) also appears in the standard photographic canon (with the years, I got the only book of Metinides in a book of viejos en la Colonia Roma Norte, and several of Weegee en The Strand).

En Los thousand and un Velorios. Chronicle of the red note in Mexico, writes Carlos Monsiváis: “Is the red note a great collective novel, with culminating episodes like the hits of the little story?”. In this great collective creation, the police photos of Enrique Metinides occupy a central place. El suyo is the sueño of every great artist: ni mejor ni peor: unique.

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