With the constant evolution and the understanding of the Brazilian photography in the general scope of contemporary arts, its historical and language impact, it started to become compelling the arrival of a professional who had not only the photography expertise in the environment of visual arts, but who had also the necessary knowledge to evaluate its weight, determine its value, its historical insertion, help in the cataloging of everything.
To the carioca Isabel Amado, gallerist, marchand, collector and expert (born in the heart of Leblon, in Rio, in July 20, 1963), the responsibility of this duty came naturally. She arrived in São Paulo in middle of the 80s. She was only 24 and by chance, she went to work in a referential institution in photography: the Galeria Fotoptica, established by Thomaz Farkas (1924-2011), precursor of photography galleries in Brazil.
Defender of what he called a “essential vision” of the photographic language, Thomaz Farkas sought to create a more fertile environment for the consolidation of new artists. The photography collecting in Brazil is very recent, it has a bit more of 10 years. The intention of Farkas´s Fotoptica was not only to spread and develop the photographic language of the authors, but also to stimulate the market valuation.
From 1988, working directly with Farkas, who was passionate about image, after all, the young Isabel Amado assimilated the qualities that would help her to become the current multifaceted professional. Farka’s company destined an expressive part of its marketing budget to the photography gallery, that did not have profit and had the intention to stimulate the photographic language . There, beyond the job in the gallery, there was a small bookstore, the only one specialized in photography books in Brazil, acquisitions of the old Farkas.
At the end, everything became the university for Isabel. “She helped the creation of many collections. Together with Iatã Cannabrava, they researched the work of artists which had no value for their own families and they brought out very important contributions”, says the photographer João Farkas, son of Thomaz and friend of Bel Amado for more than 30 years.
Between 1988 and 1997, for almost one decade, Isabel Amado carried out 74 exhibitions of some of the main Brazilian photographers, among them are Bob Wolfenson, Claudia Jaguaribe, Christian Cravo and Claudio Edinger. In all exhibitions carried out by the gallery, the exhibitor photographer donated a work to the gallery collection. Sometimes, after seeing the genuine interest of Bel, the photographer gave her a work. That occurred with some frequency, and she started to form here own personal collection (and in a certain way, her future specialty), hoarding about 100 works.
Thomaz Farkas, top entrepreneur in his area, at the age of 19, has been also one of the youngest photographers who integrated the very exclusive photography club: the Foto Cine Clube Bandeirantes. Today, the Brazilian photography of this period is one of the main focus of the Brazilian art collecting.
The clipping of this Brazilian photography has seduced researchers and curators all over the world due to its notable approach with the modern art and the relation with avant-guarde schools, as the German, Bauhaus. In general, the images show São Paulo at a moment of fast industrialization, with dared geometric compositions of urban forms and a visionary dramatic sense.
Fascinated by this period, where she arrived influenced by Iatã Cannabrava, and has its peak with the acquisition of the - MASP, the most important of the country, of 297 photographs in free-lease agreement in 2014, Isabel started to investigate its language with systematics and method.
Immersed in the production of that time and its ramifications, Isabel Amado could develop a notable work of names “revelation”. In 2016, contacting Sarah Meister, photography curator of the Museum of Modern Art - MoMA, Isabel Amado mediated the sale of 28 vintage works from that period to the American museum: the Brazilians, Paulo Pires, José Yalenti, Ademar Manarini, Eduardo Salvatore, Gertrudes Autschul and the Catalan, Marcel Giró. Thereafter, Isabel coordinated the trading of 12 modern photographs to the London´s prestigious Tate Modern.
After leaving Fotoptica, Isabel Amado started from 1997 to coordinate the Photography Department of the Museu da Imagem e do Som de São Paulo - MIS, working there until 2000. It was one of the most bustling periods of audiovisual languages in São Paulo, and the museum maintained the willingness of investing in experimentation.
Since 2000, Isabel runs Anima Montagens company, established in São Paulo and specialized in the organization and the maintenance of photography files and collections. Beyond all this activity, Isabel Amado is also partner of Galeria da Gávea, in Rio de Janeiro, in partnership with the photographer Ana Stewart, detaching contemporary photographers of great cultural scope (such as Luiz Braga, from Pará province, a Sebastião Salgado of the life on the edge of the rivers). She maintains the partnership since 2009.
The talents find us very early and we not always know where they are going to take us. In the years of 1960, the grandfather of Isabel, the engineer Júlio de Barros Barreto, kept in his house in Leblon a big office full of cameras and a desk with big drawers. Two of these drawers were full of photographs collected by the old Júlio. One of the preferred funs of the small Isabel was to take out all the drawers content to stay there for hours examining the photos. It was a prelude of the future. “ In teaching us a new visual code, photographs alter and enlarge our notions of what is worth looking at and what we have a right to observe.”, wrote Susan Sontag in On Photography, not by chance, one of the most appreciated authors of Isabel Amado.
To learn is also to share, and Isabel Amado has always been doing that. Since the years of 1990, the marchand, curator and expert has participated of different photographic groups and festivals, as the IV and V Semanas Paulistas de Fotografia (1990/1991); the Mostra Internacional de Fotografia - NAFOTO (1991/1997) and (1996). She also created and coordinated the auction 1º (2008) and the auctions of Festival Paraty em Foco from 2007 to 2012.
Beyond her participation in the , in Minas Gerais in 2014, and in the Latin American Photograph Forum of São Paulo, in 2015, Isabel has also wide experience as curator. She organized “Poder e Sufocamento”, in the Museu da Imagem e do Som - MIS, São Paulo, 2017; “Kamado de Julio Bittencourt”, Galeria da Gávea, Rio de Janeiro; “Paralelas e diagonais”, , 2016; “”, São Paulo, 2015; “”, SP-, São Paulo, 2013; “Marcel Giró”, Galeria Bergamin & Gomide, São Paulo, 2013; “RAMOS de Julio Bittencourt”, Galeria da Gávea, Rio de Janeiro, 2010; “”, Santiago, Chile, 1997; “”, , 1996; “”, collective of women photographers in 2º , São Paulo, 1996, and “”, of the renowned Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide, Galeria Fotoptica, São Paulo, 1993.
Isabel already has method and she passes it on: giving courses, such as “The fascination of collecting, principles of conservation and the art circuit in the photography universe”, she proposes to help professionals in the knowing basic foundations to start or to develop a photography collection. It is crucial, in this effort, to face technical issues, such as choice, works evaluation, analysis of the artist trajectory, conservation cares and future expectations of the collection. It is also possible to learn how to identify supports and to know the principles of the work signature (certificate of authenticity, print run, authorship identification). In the spirit of Walter Benjamin thought, it is necessary to make knowledge circulate, because the author who teaches nothing to somebody teaches nothing to the future.