How photography constructs an imaginary of Rio de Janeiro in the late 1940's in the Brazilian magazine "O Cruzeiro"
Bruno Oliveira Alves (Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná)
Luciana Martha Silveira
Paper short abstract:
Through the lens of cultural studies, we analyzed a series of reportages about Copacabana, in Rio de Janeiro. We discussed how, through Rio's photographs, the magazine O Cruzeiro uses photography as document and contributes to an imaginary about Rio de Janeiro in the late 1940's (and beyond that).
Paper long abstract:
Influenced by international magazines, as Match and Life, the illustrated magazine O Cruzeiro (1928-75) changed Brazilian's photojournalism when adopted the model of photographic reportage in 1940's. With large variety of themes ("taming" Brazil's interior, cinema's stars or cities' lives) and a massive presence of images, their reportages "documented" how were the landscapes and lives of people in various places of the world. Photography is rich for depicture things, therefore it's helpful in research about some culture or society, although, we shouldn't take it as "transparent", a reflection of the reality. Photograph also refracts the reality, because the photographers' choices aren't marked only by technical possibilities, but also by a "way of seeing", an interpretation about the world, which is crossed by social, historical and cultural factors that will be materialized in images during the photographic act. Simultaneously, the photographic production over a theme also contributes to construct a common imaginary inside a culture and, thus, influences the way how people perceive/understand determined subject. Through the lens of cultural studies, we analyzed a series of reportages from 1949 about the neighborhood of Copacabana, in Rio de Janeiro. We discussed how, through Rio's staged or instantaneous photographs, the magazine O Cruzeiro appropriated the concept of photography as document and contributed to an imaginary about Rio de Janeiro in the late 1940's (and beyond that) -which may have influenced the construction of cariocas' own identities and how other people conceive them.Download the full paper
Constructing and Contesting Imaginaries: Anthropology, Photography, and the Histories of Durable Visual Tropes