* 1902 Paris, France
+ 1996 Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
>> Biography, portrait photos
No other twentieth-century photographer explored or documented the mutual cultural relationships and continual transfer of knowledge between Europe, Africa and both Americas as thoroughly as Pierre Verger. While in Europe his work remains relatively unknown, in his chosen homeland, Brazil, and reaching into Latin America, Verger has long been considered one of the most important photographers of the twentieth century. He played a major role as a forerunner of visual anthropology and also influenced an entire generation of artists, literary personalities and academicians on both sides of the Atlantic. His photographic work, largely created between the 1930s and 1950s, significantly contributed to understanding the (self)image of modern, multiethnic societies in the 'Black Americas' (Roger Bastide). In Germany, Verger became known through Hubert Fichte and Eleonore Mau, whose publications Xango and Petersilie could only be completed thanks to his support.
Pierre Fatumbi Verger traveled the five continents as an internationally recognized photojournalist for Paris Soir, Match Magazine, Daily Mirror, LIFE, La Prensa, O Cruzeiro, Unesco Courier, and other publications. It was in the year 1946 that he first went to Salvador de Bahía, henceforth his second home; and alongside his numerous travelogues about Africa, he captured the life of this uncrowned capital of Afro-Brazilian arts and culture (with over 3,000 places of worship) in riveting photographs. Since the 1950s, countless volumes of his photography were published in France and Brazil, but which today are out of print.
Up to his death in 1996, Verger led a modest existence in a suburb of Salvador and was an active member of an Afro-Brazilian religious denomination. Today his former home functions as the Fundaçao Pierre Verger, which makes available for this project various materials from the Verger Estate, consisting of circa 62,000 largely unpublished photographs as well as his library and written correspondence.
>> Print version: The Project
See also the extensive website of the
>> Pierre Verger Foundation
Photos of the exhibition in Berlin
Texts from the catalog:
Dr. Christina Weiss
state minister of culture, Germany
Brazilian minister of culture
Black Gods in Exile
Introduction of the editors Manfred Metzner and Michael M. Thoss
Pierre Verger - Interview
By Gilberto Gil
Ethnography and Photography
By Pierre Verger