Photography and documentary film in the making of modern Brazil

By Luciana Martins

Photography and documentary film in the making of modern Brazil

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8991-6
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: October 2013
  • BIC Category: PERFORMING ARTS / Film / Genres / Documentary, ART / Film & Video, Brazil, The arts / Documentary films, Art History, Documentary films, Electronic, holographic & video art, HISTORY / Latin America / General
  • Series: Rethinking Art's Histories


Photography and documentary film in the making of modern Brazil provides a major contribution to the field of visual culture through a study of still and moving images of Brazil in the first four decades of the twentieth century, when the camera played a key role in making Brazilian peoples and places visible to a variety of audiences. The book explores what is distinctive about the visual representation of Brazil in an era of modernisation, also attending to the significance of the different technical properties of film and photography for the writing of new histories of visual technologies. It offers new insights into the work of key writers, photographers, anthropologists and filmmakers, including Claude Lévi-Strauss, Mário de Andrade, Silvino Santos and Aloha Baker. Unearthing a wealth of materials from archives in the USA, Britain, and Brazil, the book seeks to contribute to the postcolonial theoretical project of pinpointing locally distinctive histories of visual technologies and practices.


Over one hundred illustrations, the artful deployment of which the design team at Manchester University Press deserves credit, adorn the undertaking from beginning to end, lending the narrative (most appropriately) a rich, visual texture.

Though her sweep is vast, there is commendable balance between the big picture and attention to detail, with six informative chapters "organized around a sequence of connected case studies"

W. George Lovell, Dept. Geography, Queens University Canada, 'Society and Space', 02/01/2015

'Martins leads her readers through a fine web of documentary imagery and her book identifies new constellations of visual documents, expanding a Latin American historiography...Both the series of images and the strategies of interpretation in Photography and Documentary Film in the Making of Modern Brazil ought to be of real interest to geographers (both cultural and historical), art historians and anthropologists, as well, of course, as scholars in Latin American studies.'
Louise Purbrick, University of Brighton, UK, Journal of Historical Geography 52 (2016)


1. Introduction
2. Silvino Santos: documenting modern Brazil
3. Filming terra incognita: the exploration of the Amazon
4. Picturing a moral geography: Kenneth Grubb in Brazil
5. Coffee, modernity and the Brazilian image world
6. Mário de Andrade: photographic experiment and living heritage
7. Framing the Bororo: Claude Lévi-Strauss and Aloha Baker in Mato Grosso
8. Epilogue: from the Great Coffee Nation to the Obra Getuliana


Luciana Martins is Senior Lecturer in Luso-Brazilian Studies at Birkbeck, University of London

Photography and documentary film in the making of modern Brazil

By Luciana Martins

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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