Monday’s Inspiration – Marcel Gautherot

Marcel Gautherot was a French-Brazilian photographer. He was best known for his documentation in some three-thousand images of the construction of the Brazilian capital city Brasilia from 1958 to 1960. He initially studied architecture but then dedicated himself to photography.

He came to Brazil in 1940, his interest in the country awakened by reading the novel Jubiabá, by Jorge Amado. After a brief journey around the Amazon, he settled in Rio de Janeiro. He then  documentated projects for the recently created Serviço do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico NacionalSphan [National Artistic and Historical Heritage Service].

He then contacted Brazilian intellectuals and architects, with whom he frequently worked, producing documentary series about the new Brazilian architecture.

During the 1940s, he travelled along the São Francisco River, recording human types and the popular and religious festivals with an almost anthropological eye. With the photographer Pierre Verger (1902 – 1996), whom he met in Paris, he realised long journeys around the country, documenting colonial and modern architecture among other things. Throughout his career, he contributed to specialist Brazilian and European magazines, with most of his output in black and white. He also began to use colour film from the 1970s onwards. During this period, his work was mainly directed towards books published inside and outside Brazil. Among other books, he is the author of Pernambuco/Recife/Olinda, 1970, Congonhas do Campo, 1973, and Bahia, Rio São Francisco, Recôncavo e Salvador, 1995. In 1999, the photographer’s collection of 25,000 images was acquired by the Instituto Moreira Salles – IMS [Moreira Salles Institute], in Rio de Janeiro. One of his books can be found here.

Here are a few images of Brazil from his point of view which include a few favourites. Which are yours?

Palácio do Congresso Nacional. Brasília, 1958. Foto: Marcel Gautherot/IMS

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Palácio do Congresso Nacional. Brasília, 1960. Foto: Marcel Gautherot/IMS
Palácio do Congresso Nacional. Brasília, 1960. Foto: Marcel Gautherot/IMS
Palácio da Alvorada. Brasília, 1962. Foto: Marcel Gautherot/IMS
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Palácio do Congresso Nacional. Brasília, 1960. Foto: Marcel Gautherot/IMS

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