Rafael Flores

Silva’s photographs

osé María Silva was born in the province of Pontevedra, in Galicia, on September 29, 1897. In the same year that his father died fighting in the war in Cuba. He was only a six-year-old child when his mother took him to Uruguay.

In 1919, after working as errand boy and apprentice in La Fotografía del Indio, he opened his own studio and was then Foto Silva, the artists’ photographer and an artist among the photographers.

He met Carlos Gardel in 1917, but the photographs that became well-known were shot by Silva in 1933. Gardel needed new portraits for his next European tour and hundred of copies to distribute among his admirers.

José María Silva said about Gardel: «He allowed the photographer to do what he wanted; he was different in comparison to other artists that think they know everything but known nothing, because it’s not the same thing being at the theater than being photographed... Gardel was extremely photogenic and had an extraordinary capacity for posing, which made my work easy and rewarding. His smile lighted all his face.»

José María Silva died on January 3, 2000 at age 102.