We never tire of gazing at the large photos in the hallways of the restaurant La Palapa, on Los Muertos Beach. We recommend paying a visit; they’re in the back, past the cashier, by the restrooms. Other businesses in town have similar displays but none quite compares to these.
Though they don’t depict the entire pictorial history of Puerto Vallarta, these photos show a lot of what progress does and doesn’t represent.
The earliest photos in existence of the town are probably from about 1922. A small studio existed for a short time and portraits were the main focus of the first photographer in Puerto Vallarta, though he did produce some landscape photos as well. The first notable photographer, Rodolfo Pulido, arrived in 1930 and his business continued for several years under the auspices of his wife and daughter, who became his faithful assistants. Señor Pulido had no competition for a couple decades until Oscar Rosales Rodriguez arrived from Guadalajara with state-of-the-art equipment and began producing postcards of the area. Rosales Rodriguez carried on his business for many years and was a very well respected member of the community, attending social events and school functions with his camera. He was known for originality and getting clever shots, climbing high up in the hills to capture the panoramic views; roaming beaches to catch local action; and shooting from offshore to get land vistas from north to south.
When we first visited Puerto Vallarta, finding a place to develop instant prints was a challenge. There was no such thing as one-hour; we waited until at least the next day. We were pleased to watch competition spring up along Libertad and soon Farmacia Guadalajara got into the act and installed a fully equipped onsite lab, where we dropped rolls of film off mornings and came back to retrieve developed photos in the afternoon. This was a source of some amusement to neighborhood boys (and a few girls) who watched the machine located next to the window as it churned out interesting prints that unsuspecting honeymooners and the like could not have realized would be on such public view.
Times have changed to the point where it is rare to see anyone with a real camera dangling from their neck. Photos these days are produced on telephones and sent immediately into the universe, back home and elsewhere. If you do come across a photo session, it is more than likely a professional, such as Josef Kandoll, taking the place of Señors Pulido and Rosales Rodriguez. Though times have changed we must still fulfill the need for memories and souvenirs.
Que es cómo es.
Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!
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