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April 22, 2021

Beautiful Vintage Black and White Photos of Mexico in 1952

Born in 1905 in Seattle and raised in San Francisco, Earl Leaf spent many years finding his calling.  By 1936 he was the North China manager of the United Press Associations covering the Sino-Japanese war. Before that he was a cowboy, sailor, prospector, dude rancher, actor, bookkeeper, Salvation Army cadet, and many more. After the war Earl decided that he would be both a photographer and a journalist and spent time in New York shooting the city and taking assignments to shoot artists like Martha.

By 1949 Earl had picked up and moved back to the West Coast arriving in Hollywood in the summer of that year. By the Fall he had his first Hollywood celebrity session shooting the actress Cleo Moore at home. Press agents took notice and soon he was shooting up-and-coming stars. By the early 1950s Earl was well established on the scene shooting both candid sessions (never in a studio) and out on the town hobnobbing with the cream of Hollywood like Bogart and Bacall, Brando, etc. He was welcome everywhere from the Oscars to Ciro’s the Mocambo and the Cocoanut Grove.

He slowed down in the ’70s and by 1980 at the age of 75 he was dead. The complete overview of the essay about his life and career from Jonathan H, a Getty Image archive editor who used to work with Earl, can be found here.

Below are 25 photographs depicted local life in Mexico taken by Earl during his trip to the country in 1952:

Local women wear native dresses in Tehuantepec.

Couples dance in traditional dress in Tehuantepec.

Local women carries items on her head from the local market in Tehuantepec.

A rancher rides his horse on a ranch in Michoacan.

Little boys sit on the fence at a ranch in Michoacan.

Two girls pick leaves at a silk farm in Jalisco.

A man serenade two women at the Hacienda Vista Hermosa Hotel in Tequesquitengo.

Local women perform on a street in San Miguel de Allende.

Local women make tortillas in Uruapan.

Local boys sing and plays the guitar to serenade a woman in Patzcuaro.

Local women pose at ruins of one of the largest Maya cities of the Terminal Classic in Chichen Itza.

Pedestrians walk down sidewalks in downtown Mexico City.

Pedestrians walk through narrow streets and buildings in downtown Mexico City.

Young girls get water in large jugs in Mexico City.

Locals ride a merry go round in Mexico City.

Locals dress in Aztec costumes in Mexico City.

Diners eat lunch in an open courtyard in Mexico City.

Boats along the canals take tourist on rides in Mexico City.

A young couple walk down a staircase in a monumental building in Mexico City.

A woman stands on the side board of a CIA Mexicana service truck in Mexico City.

Busy farmers market in Mexico City.

A young boy and girl sell toys at night on a street in Mexico City.

Vendors on the sidewalk of a busy downtown street in Mexico City.

Three little boys look a comic books on a news stand in Mexico City.

Men drink wine at a wine bar in Mexico City.




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