Art historian Heather Shirey examines Pierre Verger’s photographs of a Candomblé ceremony that appeared in a 1949 issue of A Cigarra, exploring the relationship between the photographs and anthropological scholarship published by academic contemporaries in Brazil and abroad. Shirey is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at University of St. Thomas.
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Verger traveled extensively during his prolific career, and Africa/Americas includes photographs from the Republic of Benin, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Nigeria, Suriname, and the United States. His central focus, however, was the exploration of enduring continuities linking peoples and cultures of West Africa and the African Diaspora. Over the course of five decades, he took an estimated 65,000 photographs with his Rolleiflex camera, depicting individuals and groups in humanistic, light-drenched portraits. His approach to photography placed great emphasis on the beauty of the human form as encountered in scenes of everyday life.