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In the latter third of the nineteenth century, important political and economic transformations were introduced in Guatemala spearheaded by the rise of new powerful liberal elites, known as the liberal reform period. The capital, Guatemala City initiated a new process of urban growth and transformation, with the construction of new modern services, communication networks and transport services, such as the construction of a railroad connecting the capital with the port of San José on the Pacific and the introduction of horse-powered trams and a telegraph and telephone system. At the same time, the first plan to expand the postcolonial grid was devised in the 1880s to capitalize on the new dynamic of development and select urban renewal efforts. The paper examines Guatemala City’s modern image built through photography from 1890s to 1930. The relationship between the city, space and representation constitute a rich analytical framework for understanding urban-architectural, socio-political and cultural processes. Through deconstructing, mapping and exploring the city’s public photography, the paper analyses how the ideology of the modern city determined the aesthetics and spaces that were representative of the capital. A partial and selective image of generalized urban change presented only the bourgeois façade (spaces of power) oriented towards the south-north thoroughfare and excluded everything that challenged the idea of progress.