“I wish I had magic in my hands I’d pick you up and carry you above the clouds into the sun and have a talk with the guy who supposedly created…the cactus, and the world around, the little pigs, and Diego, and you, and me, and Miguel,” Muray wrote to her earlier, in 1939. “Maybe he would tell me the secret [of] how to make you well again so you could sing, and smile, love and play again as I have seen you before in the bright sun or in the dark night.”
In one of Muray’s last portraits of Kahlo, taken in 1946 on his Manhattan rooftop, her blue bows stand out against the sky and her brilliant red huipil puts the grey-brown New York skyline to shame. As a smile spreads across her face, she gazes at Muray affectionately—and triumphantly.
“Photography, fortunately, to me has not only been a profession but also a contact between people,” Muray once said. “To understand human nature and record, if possible, the best in each individual.” In Kahlo, he found his ideal subject—someone unafraid to be fearlessly herself in front of his camera.