Frida Kahlo is about seventeen in these family photographs taken by her father, Guillermo Kahlo, circa 1924. Each member of the family adopts a pose reflective of their station, but it is Frida who holds our attention—she stares directly at the camera daring us to look away.
There is a game being played. Frida is dressed as a boy in shirt, tie and three-piece suit, she is playing a role, flouting convention. Frida is also challenging the viewer’s notion of gender.
Being used to seeing photographs or paintings of Frida Kahlo in her colorful, theatrical dress, these simple family portraits are beautiful, seductive and potent. Frida had been learning from her father the tricks of photography and how best to use the camera to project an image. With this knowledge, Frida is measuring herself against the camera’s gaze—she is not fazed, has no fear, and seems certain of her own powerful image, even at this age.