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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Featured In New Photo Book

Submitted by Michael Olwyler —

A new compact photo book presents the work of photojournalist Peter Olwyler and is packed with black and white images of the iconic town and the people of San Miguel de Allende and central Mexico.

The book was produced and self-published by Peter’s son Michael Olwyler, of North Fork, Calif. He titled the book, “San Miguel & Its People: Photographs from the Early Mexico Period 1955 – 1971 Peter Olwyler.”

In this slim volume packed with black and white images, modern printmaking technology was applied to Peter’s negatives to create the diverse photographs of the Mexicans and expatriates that peopled the city in his Early Mexico Period between 1955 and 1971. The book is presented in both English and Spanish.

As described in the introduction to the book “…[Peter] photographed a wide variety of scenes of daily life, the difficulty of poverty, the magic of a culture, the growing expatriate community, and the commitments people made to life, religion, and celebration. He photographed Indian dancers, the itinerant artists who wandered in and out of the cultural scene, the streets and churches of San Miguel, and the fine arts school where he worked. His images include Mexican and expatriate teachers and artists; fruit vendors, pilgrims, and paper balloon makers; fashion designers and writers.”

Michael has been archiving and accessioning his father’s forty thousand photographs for more than four years, and preparing this photo book over the last two years. His intent was to share the photographs with others as his photojournalist father had intended them to be.

Peter was a photographer, journalist, writer and musician for more than 60 years and lived for 44 years in San Miguel de Allende until his passing in 1999. He obtained a MA in photojournalism from New York University in 1942 and was inducted into the armed services in August 1942.

He fought in the South Pacific Theater during WWII, reaching the Philippines at the end of the war to help free the country. He also worked for the Cavalry press corps, and made many friends during his stint as a military reporter in the islands.

By 1955, Peter, his wife Teddy, son Michael and sister Kelle traveled to Mexico in a 1948 Plymouth on a search for work at a foreign newspaper — a gamble that didn’t prove out. However, through fortuitous circumstances, Peter obtained the position of Public Relations Manager at the fine arts school, the Instituto Allende, in the historic town of San Miguel de Allende, which today is a World Heritage Site.

Look on a map and you’ll find San Miguel in the center of the country where Europeans made first contact with the indigenous Chichimeca Indians almost 500 years ago. It is a city exploding with Mexican and expatriate art and culture. In 2017 CNN Travel named the city the best in the world.

Peter’s photography is unique in that it captures Mexicans and expatriates, scenes and vistas, a mélange of cultures during the beginning of the technological upheaval that began in the middle of the 20th century. His images are historically significant, topically interesting, and amazingly beautiful fine art photojournalism.

A limited edition of “San Miguel & Its People” will be available for sale in California, the U.S., and Mexico beginning in March 2018.

Contact Michael Olwyler at olwylerphotography@gmail.com for details.

Photographs by Peter Olwyler

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