1. David W. Ellwood, "Archivo Nazionale Cinematografico Della Resistenza, Torino — Oral History and Film History: the Use and Misuse of Interviews," in History and Film: Methodology, Research, Education, edited by K.R.M. Short and Karsten Fledelius, (Copenhagen: International Association for Audiovisual Media in Historical Research and Education, 1980), 21-32. [return to page 1]

2. Joel Gardner, "Oral History and Video in Theory and Practice," Oral History Review 12 (1984), 105.

3. See Erik Barnouw, Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film, (London: Oxford University Press, 1974), pp. 253-262; and the interview with Jean Rouch in Documentary Explorations, edited by G. Roy Levin (Garden City: Doubleday, 1971), 137.

4. Hechos Sobre Los Rieles: Una Historia De Los Ferrocarrileros Mexicanos is the result of a collaboration between Gloria Tirado and John Mraz from 1984 to 1987. In 1988, it was subtitled in English as Made On Rails: A History Of Mexican Railroad Workers. In 1988, the videotape was given the "Award of Merit in Film" by the Latin American Studies Association and the Hubert B. Herring Award" as the "Best Videotape, Film, or Non-Print Media" by the Pacific Coast Council for Latin American Studies, It is distributed in the United States by The Cinema Guild (1697 Broadway, New York, NY, 10019) and, in Mexico, by the Centro de Información by Documentación de la Cultura Audio Visual (CIDCA V) of the Universidad Autónoma de Puebla.

5. See Michael Frisch, 'The Memory of History," in Presenting the Past: Essays on History and the Public, ed. Susan Porter Benson, et al. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986). 5-17.

6. Jerry Kuehl. "TV. History," History Workshop 1 (Spring, 1976), 129.

7. Ibid., p. 130.

8. See Lola G. Luna, "El video aplicado a la memoria de la mujeres latinoamericanas, Boletín Americanista 38 (Barcelona, 1988).

9. See Alessandro Portelli, "The Peculiarities of Oral History," History Workshop Journal 12 (Autumn, 1981).

10. Ellwood, op. cit., p. 31.

11. I have argued this point in the following articles:" Más allá dc la decoración: hacia una historia gráfica de las mujeres en Mexico," Politica y cultura 1 (Fall 1992); "Imágenes ferrocarrileras: una visión poblana," Lecturas Históricas de Pueblo 59 (Puebla: Gobierno del Estado de Puebla, 1991); "Some Visual Notes Toward a Graphic History of the Mexican Working Class," Journal of the West 27:4 (October, 1988); "De la fotografía histórica: particularidad y nostalgia," Nexos 91 (July 1985). [return to page 2]

12. See John Berger, "Another Way of Telling," Journal of Social Reconstruction 1:1 (January-March, 1980), 60.

13. Pierre Sorlin, The Film in History: Restaging the Past (Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes & Noble, 1980), 4.

14. The Casasola collection is composed of some 400,000 glass plate and plastic negatives. The best published introductions to this archive are:Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, ed., Mexico: The Revolution and Beyond: Photographs by Agustín Víctor Casasola 1900-1940 (New York: Aperture, 2003); and Flora Lara Klahr, Jefes, héroes y caudillos: Archive Casasola (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1986).

15. Michael Losy, "The Photography of History," Afterimage 2:8 (February, 1975), 3.

16. J.H. Hexter, "The Rhetoric of History," Doing History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1971), p. 19.

17. The Fondo Hermanos Mayo contains some five million negatives. See John Mraz, "CloseUp: An Interview with the Hermanos Mayo, Spanish-Mexican Photojournalists (1930s-present)" Studies in Latin American Popular Culture 11 (1992); and John Mraz, "Foto Hermanos Mayo: A Mexican Collective," History of Photography 17:1 (Spring, 1993).

18. On the use of family albums, see David Russell, "Any Old Albums? Building a people's history," Camerawork 16.

19. CROM are the initials of the Confederación Regional Obrera Mexicana (Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers), the first national union in that country.

20. An interesting experience illustrating the importance of the ideological control of images is that which occurred while I was mounting a photographic exposition on "The History of the Mexican Labor Movement" for the Centro de Estudios Históricos del Movimiento Obrero Mexicano (CEHSMO), a research center affiliated with the Secretaría de Trabajo (Department of Labor). I had only recently arrived to live in Mexico, and had selected several of the more powerful photos by the Hermanos Mayo of the army intervention in the 1959 strike. However, I was quickly informed that under no circumstances could images showing the military occupation of the railroads be included in the exhibit.

21. Eric Margolis, "Mining Photographs: Unearthing the Meanings of Historical Photos," Radical History Review 40 (Jan. 1988), 35.

22. I am here paraphrasing from the famous discussion of Young Mr. Lincoln that occurred in the Cahiers du Cinéma. See Jean-Luc Comolli and Jean Narboni, "Cinéma / Ideology/ Criticism," in Movies and Methods 1, ed. Bill Nichols (Berkeley: University of California, 1976), 27.

23. See Marie Czech, "At Home: reconstructing everyday life through photographs and artifacts," Afterimage 5:3 (Sept. 1977), 11.

24. Given the gratuitous access provided by the Puebla State TV station (IMEVISION-PUEBLA) for editing the final version, the cost of the videotape is difficult to calculate; the total amount spent was somewhere around $2,000 to $3,000 dollars. We were only able to rent recording equipment for two days and to tape a total of seven hours of interviews. Other very minimal expenditures include the price of the photos, the slide film on which to copy them, and the costs of musicalization.

25. See Campa's autobiography, Mi testimonio: memorias de un communista mexicana (Mexico: Ediciones de Cultura Popular, 1978).

26. See Alfonso Gumucio Dagrón, "Nicaragua: cine obrero sandinista," Cuadernos de comunicación alternativa 1 (May, 1983); and the interview with him in Cinema and Social Change: Conversations with Filmmakers, ed. Julianne Burton, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986).

27. Eric Howsbawm, "Labor History and Ideology," Workers: Worlds of Labour (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), 14.

Photo identification

  1. Hermanos Mayo; Riviters making boxcars, Nonoalco train yard, Mexico City, 8 November 1944. Archivo General de la nación, Fondo Hermanos Mayo, Chronological Section, 1679.
  1. Riviters, Mexico, ca. 1930. Fondo Casasola, SINAFO-Fototeca Nacional del INAH.
  1. Women on top of railroad cars, Mexico, ca. 1915. Inv. 643154, Fondo Casasola, SINAFO-Fototeca Nacional del INAH.
  1. Guillermo Treviño; Old train cars that serve as housing for railroad workers and their families, Puebla, 1958. Archive of Guillermo Treviño, Instituto de Ciencias Sociales-Universidad Autónoma de Puebla.
  1. Hermanos Mayo; Soldier and striking railroad worker, Nonoalco train yard, Mexico City, 6 August 1958. Archivo General de la Nación, Fondo Hermanos Mayo, Chronological Section, 12636.
  1. Hermanos Mayo; Striking railroad workers, Nonoalco train yard, Mexico City, 2-4 July 1958. Archivo General de la Nación, Fondo Hermanos Mayo, Chronological Section, 12609.
  1. Hermanos Mayo; Striking railroad workers celebrate their (short-lived) victory, Nonoalco train yard, Mexico City, 25 February 1959. Archivo General de la Nación, Fondo Hermanos Mayo, Chronological Section, 13313.
  1. Couple in patio of train station, Oriental, Puebla, ca. 1950. Archive of John Mraz.
  1. Guillermo Treviño; Woman washing clothes beside old train cars that serve as housing for railroad workers and their families, Puebla, 1958. Archive of Guillermo Treviño, Instituto de Ciencias Sociales-Universidad Autónoma de Puebla.

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