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Waxing Realistic

December 22, 1996

In "Images of the Spirit, Voices of the Soul" (by Christopher Knight, Nov. 10), one of Graciela Iturbide's photographs, titled "Mexico City, 1972," is described in the text as "a careworn woman seated before an empty shot glass in a Mexico City bar."

The picture is not of a real person but of a wax figure currently on display at the Museo de Cera Dilea Castillo de Neira in Mexico City. Titled "La pinocha" (which roughly translates to "the prostitute"), this figure was sculpted by my grandfather, Jose Neira, in 1966. The painting in the background was by Alfredo Huerta, and the set was designed by my grandfather. It is a work of art, but not one spontaneously captured by the photographer.

It is flattering to my grandfather that his sculpture was mistaken for a real person.

Federico Avila

Los Angeles

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