Thrilled to participate in photography seminar in São Paulo

I’m thrilled and honored to participate in the seminar Fotografia moderna? Fragmentos de uma história (Brasil, 1900-1960) at the Instituto Moreira Salles (IMS Paulista), São Paulo, Brazil, August 13-15, 2019. The seminar was organized by Helouise Costa and Heloísa Espada.

I presented my talk, "Brazilian Participation in FIAP (the International Federation of Photographic Art), 1950-1965," on August 14. Learn more about my talk here! Click on any image below to go to the section of my website with more info about the seminar and my talk, including the abstract of my talk and its video recording.

See the full program of the seminar as well as video recording of all panels within the seminar on the IMS Paulista website: Fotografia Moderna? Fragmentos de uma história (Brasil, 1900-1960)

Click on any image below to go to the section of my website with more detailed info about my talk.

Brief summary of my talk, “Brazilian Participation in FIAP, 1950-1965”

“For me, the most moving aspect of looking at a salon catalogue is seeing the names of Brazilians entangled with names of artists from other parts of the world … democratically positioned as equals,” acknowledged José Oiticica Filho (1906–1964) in an article published in Boletim Foto Cine in 1951. A key figure in Brazilian postwar photography, Oiticica Filho is acknowledged as an important experimental photographer, one of the pioneers of modernist photography associated with the São Paulo photo club Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante (FCCB). Little, however, is known about another aspect of his involvement with photography: parallel to his creative work, he compiled extensive data tables pertaining to hundreds of photography exhibitions throughout the world. By doing so, Oiticica Filho established a significant link between Brazilian photographers and the global photo-club culture of the 1950s.

During the 1950s, photographers often relied on photo-club salons as their primary regular exhibition venues because the established systems of art museums and galleries welcomed their work only in rare exceptions. The most visible advocate of the global photo-club culture was the International Federation of Photographic Art (Fédération internationale de l'art photographique, FIAP), founded in Switzerland in 1950. Over the following decade, FIAP united and mobilized photo clubs in fifty-five countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, becoming the first post-World War II organization to provide photographers with an institutional space that existed outside the market and that transcended political and ethnic borders.

Brazil was the first non-European country to join FIAP in 1950. The founder and president of FIAP, Belgian photographer Maurice Van de Wyer (1896–1994) was a close acquaintance of Eduardo Salvatore (1914–2006), the founder and president of FCCB. Van de Wyer visited São Paulo and FCCB on a regular basis during the 1950s. While it is not clear whether Oiticica Filho and Van de Wyer ever met in person, Oiticica Filho became an active contributor to the work of FIAP. He published several statistical reports about international salons of photography, based on data he collected from salon catalogues. These reports reveal the geographic reach of the global photo-club culture in the mid-1950s, with hundreds of exhibitions every year in countries across the world.

Oiticica Filho’s statistical work opens a broader perspective on postwar photo-club culture as a global phenomenon. Data he collected and published make a thriving, transnational field both visible and quantifiable by providing a helpful guide to the otherwise uncharted field of photo-club culture that firmly establishes Brazil as one of its creative centers.