Gelatin silver print, toned
Image: 23.7 x 34.1 cm (9 5/16 x 13 7/16 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 61 cm (20 x 24 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1998.56
Laura Gilpin wrote that "photography uses waves of light, composed and harmonized to express an idea."
Laura Gilpin traveled to Yucatán, Mexico, in 1932 to document the Maya ruins at Chichén Itzá. This image shows the site’s most famous structure, known as both El Castillo and the Kukulkán (Feathered Serpent) Pyramid. Gilpin wrote that the building “stands with majestic dignity, a supreme expression of the thought and feeling of a great people.” She chose to shoot it at sunset, when the monument’s compact, massive form contrasted with delicate, lacy backlit clouds. At the right, a dramatic sunbeam bursts down, mirroring the pyramid’s sloping side.
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