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

Mariana Portillo
Mariana Portillo

Mother of Dolores Portillo, wearing traditional clothing and a head wrap to cushion a tumpline or "mecapal" for carrying firewood. Photo by grandson, David H. Portillo.

press to zoom
Dolores Portillo
Dolores Portillo

Daughter of Mariana Portillo, Dolores sits for portrait taken by her son David H. Portillo in Ciudad Barrios. Wife of Atanacio Portillo.

press to zoom
Dolores "Lola" Portillo
Dolores "Lola" Portillo

A Salvadoran newspaper reports on the return of Dolores Portillo to Ciudad Barrios from the capital after her son's grave illness.

press to zoom
Fernando Portillo
Fernando Portillo

Telegram from Fernando Portillo sending his condolences to Dolores Portillo on October 23, 1940 in regards to a recent death in the family.

press to zoom
Esther Portillo (Front)
Esther Portillo (Front)

Resident of Ciudad Barrios, mother of Atanacio Portillo and grandmother of David H. Portillo.

press to zoom
Esther Portillo (Back)
Esther Portillo (Back)

"Esther Portillo passed away on December 17, 1938 - Ciudad Barrios. My grand moder"

press to zoom
Atanacio Portillo
Atanacio Portillo

Portrait of Atanacio Portillo of Ciudad Barrios, son of Ester Portillo, and father of David H. Portillo. Husband to Dolores Portillo.

press to zoom
Women in Ciudad Barrios
Women in Ciudad Barrios

February 1939, picture taken by David H. Portillo. (Right - Josefina Portillo, middle - unknown, left - Arminda Portillo)

press to zoom
Children in Ciudad Barrios
Children in Ciudad Barrios

February 1939, children stand in the middle of a road in Ciudad Barrios. Photo taken by David H. Portillo.

press to zoom