Alec Soth's Archived Blog

March 29, 2007

Rodrigo Moya

Filed under: artists — alecsothblog @ 10:33 pm

In a Mexico City theater, two literary legends, and best friends, attend a movie premiere. The film, Supervivientes de los Andes, is an account of the Uruguayan rugby team that ate human flesh to survive after their airplane crashed in the Andes mountains. Due to projector problems, the movie was never shown. Accounts of what happened next are unclear. But what is known is that a fight broke out between Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.

Two days later, the photographer Rodrigo Moya snapped pictures of Márquez. After keeping these pictures to himself for thirty-one years, Moya recently allowed them to be published:

Gabriel García Márquez, 1976, by Rodrigo Moya

The recent NYTimes story about this picture prompted me to learn more about Moya. Born in Colombia in 1934, he moved to Mexico as a young man. From 1956 to 1968 he worked as a documentary photographer and covered numerous revolutionary movements in Mexico and Latin America. Though it never made it onto a t-shirt, one of Moya’s most celebrated pictures is of Che Guevara:

“Che melancólico, 1964, by Rodrigo Moya

By the 1970’s, Moya became frustrated by photography and created an independent magazine specializing in marine biology. He later wrote the book Cuentos para leer junto al mar (Tales to be Read by the Sea), which won a Mexican national literary award in 1997.

Since his recent recovery from cancer, Moya has been reevaluating his photographic archives. Along with portraits of Márquez and Guevara, Moya has some excellent pictures:


More examples here, here, here and here


  1. We need another of those sports diagrams, for great literary pugilists:

    Hemingway v Mailer
    Martin Amis v Kazuo Ishiguro
    JK Rowling v Philip Pullman…

    Comment by guybatey — March 30, 2007 @ 5:57 am

  2. Alec,

    Thanks for turning me on to Moya.

    Hey, any thoughts on Graciela Iturbide?

    Comment by ND — April 4, 2007 @ 2:13 pm

  3. Thanks for the Moya info. I have been investigating him recently as well because I had the chance to meet him. He was honored here in Zacatecas, Mexico the week before last at a foto exhibicion. He really has alot of great pictures of Latin American artists. Since my Spanish isn’t much we just exchanged pleasantries but he seems really amiable. I don’t have any of his collections yet, but I will definately get one, to admire and remember my time here.

    “Melancholy Che” is indeed fantastic.

    Comment by Mateo — April 15, 2007 @ 3:37 pm

  4. For Alec, Mateo, et al,

    Claudia Gomez, the manager of the Omar Alonso Gallery in Puerto Vallarta recently introduced me to the work of this extraordinary photographer. It’s amazing. Ediciones El Milagro has published a beautiful book titled “Foto Insurrecta”. I recommend it highly. Check out the following link:

    Comment by Marco Zaragoza — November 16, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

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