Photographs of San Luis Potosi captured from 19th to mid 20th centuries are recovered by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the San Luis Potosi Visual Chroniclers Program, with the aim of identifying and preserving the state collective visual memory.

Luis Pedro Gutierrez Cantu, director of Potosino regional Museum (MRP) informed this institution took the challenge of creating files that gather municipal photographers’ work during the aforementioned period. More than 34,000 snapshots have been donated or lent to the museums’ archive.

These heaps represent first-hand register of quotidian life, architecture and Potosi City Halls’ events. We have worked with 22 municipalities of 58 that integrate the state, recovering copyright and finding 3 or 4 generations of photographers in some places”.

Recently 250 glass negatives from Ciudad del Maiz were handed over, which illustrate the arrival of an Italian colony in 1882, some of whose descendants still live there.

The main objective of this program is that Potosi inhabitants strengthen bonds through images from the past, therefore, from 2005 to 2009, images have been exhibited more than 50 times in public squares and precincts like Arcada de Aranzazu, City Halls, the State Congress and Potosino Regional Museum.  

In Matehuala municipality four photographers’ registers have been located, and it is possible that soon an exhibition of wedding pictures is mounted.

Pedro Gutierrez Cantu, author with Arturo Gomez Diaz of Imagen e historia minera. Charcas, siglos XIX-XX (Mining Image and History. Charcas during 19th and 20th Centuries), declared: “Visual Chroniclers Program is developed with the support of National System of Photo Libraries (INAH-SINAFO) and San Luis Potosi INAH Center, and allows acknowledging city halls’ photographers, who preserve with their work the graphic history of a whole region”.

Arturo Gomez Diaz mentioned that the ancient snaps reveal aspects of rural and urban life. Guayule (an alternative latex source) collectors in Catorce, or the aforementioned mining workers at Charcas are both examples. This work has been compiled in the 35th issue of Alquimia, edited by INAH-SINAFO.

High Plateau municipalities have been attended in the first stage of the project, because many of them present a problematic that includes impoverishment of natural resources and migration. This situation results in the loss of different cultural manifestations.

“Tasks proposed have advanced, but we still have huge challenges ahead at Potosino Regional Museum, such as cataloguing and database creation, which need immediate attention”, concluded Gutierrez.