Collection Artwork
Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexico City, Mexico, 1902 – 2002, Mexico City, Mexico)
El ensueño (The Daydream)
1931, printed later
gelatin silver print
frame size: 20 1/2 x 16 5/8 x 3/4 in.
mat window size: 9 3/8 x 7 1/4 in.
The Jack Shear Collection of Photography at the Tang Teaching Museum
Mexico, North America
2015.1.223
Inscribed and signed in pencil, verso, lower center: Para Jack El Ensueño / M Alvarez Bravo / México

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

Tang Collective Catalog


Does the photographer know her? Really know her, I mean. I hope he knows she does not gaze longingly at a potential lover down below and dream about him, her hand coyly touching her face, wishing it were his hand. I hope he knows that her head is filled with an inner world of her own making, full of color and light. I hope he does not think of her as an untouchable feminine mystery, a case to be cracked. I hope he knows he will not solve her by taking this picture.

I am a frequent daydreamer. Those who have tried to snap me out of it have failed, and I’ve accepted that I will always have a near-constant cacophony of sounds and images in my mind to attend to. My vivid thoughts, though they hinder my concentration, are valuable and worthwhile. Others, the non-daydreamers, don’t see this. The girl sees it, though. We are the same.

ADHD. I stare out the window, forget things, take longer to process ideas. I can’t figure out the board game or card game rules, can’t even follow simple instructions sometimes. I doodle on paper, I have the uncanny ability to tune people out, I have a need for constant stimulation. People used to tell me I was mysterious. My mom told me I used to sit for hours on end on the living room floor and flip through picture books. She scolded me for losing things. How did they not know? Why did I have to figure it out on my own? I have no resentment towards my parents, though. I wasn’t that stereotypical kid, bouncing off the walls and making impulsive decisions. I was quiet, I did well in school, and I sat still. To them, I was a good kid, just a daydreamer.

The girl and I, we are not a mystery, not lovesick, not lazy or slow or inattentive. We are processing the world around us in a different way, perhaps in a philosophical way. For her and me, there is so much flying around in our minds that we sometimes need to stop what we’re doing and sort it out. It is laborious, sure, but fulfilling and beautiful, too. There is special power in our vivid dreams.


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