“Photography allows us to see what we didn’t have the time to see, because it brings time to a standstill. It remembers. Photography is memory itself.” – Pierre Verger, 1993
Africa/Americas: Photographic Portraits by Pierre Verger presents 32 stunning black-and-white images by renowned French photographer and anthropological researcher Pierre Verger (1902–1996). It is the first solo museum exhibition of Verger’s work in the United States.
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. In particular, Verger’s dignified photographs were intended to counter all-too-prevalent derogatory and racism-tinged 20th century pictorial representations of Africans and peoples of African-descent in the Americas.
Africa/Americas is organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA in association with the Pierre Verger Foundation (Fundação Pierre Verger) in Salvador, Brazil. It is curated by Patrick A. Polk, the Fowler Museum’s Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Popular Arts.
Support for the exhibition is provided in part by the Roth Family Foundation.
Salvador, Bahia State, Brazil, 1950-1951
© Fundação Pierre Verger