MoMA PRESENTS FOTOCLUBISMO: BRAZILIAN MODERNIST PHOTOGRAPHY FROM 1946 TO 1964
The exhibition explores the unforgettable creative achievements of São Paulo’s Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante (FCCB), a group of amateur photographers whose ambitious and innovative works embodied the abundant originality of postwar Brazilian culture. Although their work was heralded around the world in the 1950s, it subsequently faded from view. This is the first museum exhibition to present this fascinating moment in photography’s history to audiences outside of Brazil.
Photography was a hobby for most FCCB members: on weekdays, group members—many of whom were women—went to their jobs as businessmen and women, accountants, journalists, engineers, biologists, and bankers. On weekends, they often traveled to photograph together. They were nonetheless quite serious about their artistic ambition, not unlike millions of people on Instagram today. Their pictures assumed many forms—from inventive experiments to distillations from everyday life—and their attentiveness to abstraction evolved in dialogue with leading critical thinkers and peers in design, painting, and film.
“While it is easy for us to recognize the objectification in the images reproduced [in the exhibition], it is also possible to empathize with the enthusiasm of seeing the world through a camera’s lens—even if today we are just as often doing so with our phones” writes Sarah Meister, curator at the Museum’s Department of Photography.
More than 60 photographs, drawn almost exclusively from MoMA’s collection, demonstrate the group’s extraordinary range. Their absence from international histories of the medium provide a valuable opportunity to reflect on the biases that led to these exclusions, and invite us to reflect on the status of the amateur today.
In the context of the exhibition and in honor of National Photography Month, MoMA encourages amateur photographers to join the MoMA Photo Club by sharing their photography with the hashtag #MoMAPhotoClub. Selected photos will feature on MoMA’s social channels and website.