Mexican cinematographer. He was born in Mexico City in 1907 and died in 1997. Considered the most recognized photographer in Mexican cinema.
Mexican cinematographer. He was born in Mexico City in 1907 and died in 1997. Considered the most recognized photographer in Mexican cinema, his work contributed decisively to form a defined image of what is considered to be the Golden Age of Mexican national cinema.
He studied at the Academia de San Carlos and at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música, which he did not finish. He made his film debut in 1932 taking still photographs of the film Revolution ( The Shadow of Pancho Villa) by director Miguel Contreras Torres. His experience with light management, which would later be the characteristic of his works, began in 1934 when he participated as an illuminator in El Escándalo and El primo Basilio , both films from director Chano Urueta. Subsequently, he met Alex Philips in the studio of Ignacio Martínez Solares and began working on lighting for films such as La mujer del puerto .
In 1935 he received a scholarship to go to Hollywood, where he became one of the disciples of Gregg Toland, photographer for Citizen Kane of Orson Wells, who would always be considered by Figueroa as his teacher; from him he learned light manipulation, optics, composition and depth of field management. It is noted that, in addition to Toland, he was also greatly influenced by the 1919 German Expressionism and Sergei Einsenstein.
Upon his return in 1936, he had his first opportunity in front of a film camera with Allá en el rancho grande , considered the first international success, the beginning of the golden age of Mexican cinema and the basis for the industry film of the country. With it Figueroa won the award for Best Photography at the Venice Festival in 1938.
In the early 1940s, together with a group of artists, he founded the company Films Mundos. In that period he made more than 50 films with the main directors of the time such as Fernando de Fuentes, Alejandro Galindo, Julio Bracho and Miguel M. Delgado, among others.
In 1943 he worked at Wildflower under the direction of Emilio “El Indio” Fernández, which was the beginning of a collaboration that would produce more than twenty films and which included the participation of prominent writers and actors from the time as Mauricio Magdaleno, Dolores del Río and Pedro Armendariz.
Among the most outstanding films they made are: María Candelaria , La Perla , Enamorada , Río Escondido , < em> Maclovia , Salón México and The White Rose . It is stated that his personal style is closely linked, aesthetically and thematically, to the work of masters of Mexican painting such as David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco and Dr. Atl (Gerardo Murillo), of whom he was a friend and disciple.