Adolfo Biener was a photographer and postcard publisher working in Guatemala from around 1915 until the 1930s. He is best known for his color cards and photographs. After taking an underdeveloped black and white image, he would hand-color a master copy, then print the colored photograph, giving a vivid colored image to these romantic photographs. Archaeological sites, earthquake ruins, and portraits predominate.

    Like his counterpart in Mexico, German-born Hugo Brehme, Adolfo Biener offered photo processing and photographic equipment and supplies from the United States and Germany. For some 35 years, Biener also published tourist postcards, along with booklets containing 12 postcards that could be detached and mailed individually.

    In the 1930s, a series of over 200 photo postcards published by Adolfo Biener & Cia promoted Guatemala's coffee industry. Some of the cards are marked with the initials A.R.W., implying that someone other than Biener took the photographs, with Biener having the rights to publish them. The titles on the front are in Spanish, while the promotional line on the back, "Guatemala produces the best coffee in the world," is printed in Spanish, English, and German.

    Arnold Genthe (January 8, 1869 – August 9, 1942) was a German-born American photographer, best known for his photographs of San Francisco's Chinatown, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and his portraits of noted people, from politicians and socialites to literary figures and entertainment celebrities.

    In 1911 Genthe moved to New York, where his photo studio operated until his death. Photos of Guatemala were taken in 1916, but the details of his trip are not known. What is known is that Genthe was a passionate traveler, and besides Guatemalan part of his collection, he is known for the photos of Cuba.

    NOTICE: All photos in this gallery are taken in Antigua Guatemala, except the last three photos taken in Guatemala City.

    English by birth (1830), Eadweard Muybridge moved to New York in 1850 where he worked as a bookseller. In San Francisco, he opened a bookstore and began to take an interest in photography in 1860 and learned the technique that was in use at the time. His photos of the coasts of California, Yosemite and the growing city of San Francisco, as well as Alaska, the west side of Canada and Central America reveal his sensitivity and his artistic nature.

    He took his life with passion and an adventurous spirit; however, his long seasons away from home caused his wife to have a lover. He searched for his rival (Harry Larkins), traveled great distances, found him and killed him in 1874. He was tried for his crime and declared innocent; the jury ruled justified homicide despite the fact that, in his own defense, Muybridge himself pointed out his guilt.

    Leland Stanford, his friend, and sponsor of his inventions paid Muybridge's defense at his trial and helped Muybridge travel to Central America and leave behind that dark episode. The Pacific Mail Steamship Co. sponsored his trip with the aim of photographing these unexplored lands and encouraging travel and investment in the region. That is maybe why many of his shots in Guatemala focus on the coffee growing cycle. Las Nubes, the coffee farm of William Nelson, a commercial agent in Guatemala of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co., was one of the most photographed sites.

    He was in Guatemala for six months, had the unconditional support of President Justo Rufino Barrios and then he returned to San Francisco with 260 photos of different countries of the isthmus. He also made stereographic postcards and created albums of 120 images that he put on sale for $ 100 each.

    At the end of his life, Muybridge returned to his hometown in England, Kingston upon Thames, where he died in 1894. Since 1904, his house became a museum that exhibits his work.

    The Guatemalan Revolution was the period in Guatemalan history between the popular uprising that overthrew dictator Jorge Ubico in 1944 and the United States-orchestrated coup d'état in 1954 that unseated democratically elected President Jacobo Árbenz. It is also known as the Ten Years of Spring, highlighting the only years of representative democracy in Guatemala from 1930 until the end of the civil war in 1996, and included a program of agrarian reform that was enormously influential across Latin America.

    Fernando Zaid was a photographer whose work was most prominent in the forties and fifties of the 20th Century. Although he liked to capture the everyday life in Guatemala, he also had access to political leaders of the time. Especially attractive are his photographs from the period of 1944 to 1954 known in Guatemala as "Ten years of spring". After the overthrow of dictator Jorge Ubico in the revolution of October 1944, Guatemala had 10 years of democracy and advance until the CIA-backed coup in 1954 known under the code name "PB Success".

    Arnold Genthe
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