Modern Photography

The advent of modern photography in Brazil is related directly to the Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante in São Paulo. Until then, the Brazilian movement of photo clubs had narrow bonds with international pictorialism, which had, as main line, the giving of an artistic direction to photography, supported only by aesthetic standards from different styles and painting theories, i.e., elements of academicism, naturalism, impressionism and symbolism.  That way, in their works, pictorialists tried to deny the realism presence in photography and its reproducible nature.


In the 40ths, it occurs a transformation in the photography outlook of FCCB. The bandeirantes photographers break with the academic style of the pictorialist movement. Thus, being free of preset classic subjects, dogmas and formal rules of pictorialism, the photographers open a new visuality marked by researching inherent technical resources proper of photographic means, influenced by European modernist avant-garde. The artists from the avant-garde movements as dadaism, surrealism, futurism, constructivism and the Bauhaus perceive the enormous potential of photographic means in translating historical -percipient change, and demands of urban and technological age.


The first period of Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante was known as “the pioneers phase”. In the beginning of the 40ths, Thomas Farkas and Geraldo de Barros carried out a radical rupture in the photographic language. They direct the vision to reality elements that are more banal and ordinaries attracted by the inherent possibility of abstraction to their forms. Being so, in the subjects geometrisation unusual rhythms, textures, plans, angles and the use of bright and dark are frequent in their images. Added to that, direct interventions are carried out in the photographic process, through multiple exposition of a same plate or by clippings, overlapping and drawings executed in the negative.

After the “pioneers phase”, it comes the second generation of FCCB, known as the Escola Paulista, which continues the aesthetic researches initiated by the precursors. The photographers of “Generation of the 50ths”, composed by Eduardo Salvatore, Marcel Giró, Robert Yoshida, Gertrudes Altschul, Ademar Manarini, Gaspar Gasparian, Ivo Ferreira and João Bizarro Nave Filho, use light and dark, emphasize the constituent force lines of the subject, look for detaching the abstract character of the subject and the geometrisation of the object in their compositions. The photogram use is part of abstractionist research. At that moment, the photographer leaves the camera and places objects on a photographic paper, exposing them to light, and placing them later in the printing process. The process occurs inside the photo laboratory.

The images produced by photo club members of the so-called “Escola Paulista de Fotografia” (São Paulo Photography School) have their importance showed in a seminal exhibition presented in a special room in the II Bienal Internacional de Artes de São Paulo, carried out between December 1953 and February 1954 during the celebrations of IV Centenarian of the City of São Paulo.

Therefore we can say that, even late, the development of the modern Brazilian photography was born and fostered inside photo clubs and by consequence in the photograph salons, created by these photographer groups to disclose their production.



COSTA, Helouise, SILVA, Renato Rodrigues. A fotografia moderna no Brasil. São Paulo: Cosac Naify, 2004.