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David H. Portillo

Ciudad Barrios is a city in the San Miguel department of El Salvador, and the birthplace of a novice photographer born in 1916, David Humberto Portillo. By 1939, when he captured life in Ciudad Barrios, David lived in San Salvador, the capital, and was an employee at Jaime Pascual department store.

That same year, there was an election with only one candidate—Dictator Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, who had orchestrated a massacre seven years earlier. Danger also loomed over another Ciudad Barrios native; a young Óscar Arnulfo Romero had decided to remain at the seminary in Italy while WWII spread throughout Europe.


The world's weight is apparent in all of David H. Portillo's subjects—even the children. The collection is a combination of photographs and memorabilia to build on the scarce history of Ciudad Barrios.

click to see photos

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