Erika Zerwes, Junior Henriette Herz Fellow

Bild Erika Zerwes

Dr. Erika Zerwes

Dr. Erika Zerwes has a PhD in History at Universidade Estadual de Campinas, with a FAPESP scholarship and a CAPES funding for a séjour doctoral at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and a Postdoc at the Museum of Contemporary Art of University of São Paulo, funded by FAPESP. She is the author of the books Tempo de Guerra: cultura visual e cultura política nas fotografias dos fundadores da agência Magnum (2018), Cultura Visual, imagens na modernidade (2019), which was a Jabuti Prize finalist, and Mulheres Fotógrafas, Mulheres Fotografadas. Fotografia e gênero na América Latina (2020). She is currently Visiting Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire and Associated Lecturer at the University of London at Birkbeck.

“Between Latin America and Europe: The Institutionalization of Photography”

The period of the late 1970s and early 1980s is of great importance for Latin American photography  history. This is a specific moment in which several concomitant initiatives have led to the  professionalisation and institutionalisation of documentary photography, journalistic and authorial.  It was an intense period of struggle for recognition of the professional category.  

Because of its importance, this particular period has been approached by historiography today, at the same time that the studies of photography have reached maturity in Latin America in general, and particularly in Brazil. Photography became a subject of Brazilian academic research during the 1990s. Since then, its presence has been increasing, and today it occupies important spaces within the academy. One example is the Working Group titled Imagem, Cultura Visual e História of the National Association of History, established in 2006. This WG, which I coordinated between 2016 and 2018, includes researchers from several Brazilian universities, from Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul. A number of researchers who were trained by the first generation of the 1990s, among whom I find myself, are related to this WG. From these specific example, one can see that  the debates around photography are currently institutionally organised and structured through a  national historiography that begins to consolidate. However, the understanding of international relations in the organisation of Brazilian and Latin American photography is fundamental for the deepening of the reflections, still marked by archives’ and documents’ restriction.

This research proposal seeks to fill some gaps, organise and consolidate previous and ongoing research on the subject, in order to broaden and strengthen this multi-disciplinary field of  knowledge.