Chichico Alkmim, Diamantina, MG. No date. PHOTO: Moreira Salles Institute Collection
Record of an encounter between past and present in Chichico's exhibition. The photo is by Helio Campos Mello.

*Helio Campos Mello

Chichico Alkmim was born in 1886 and opened his studio in 1912, in Diamantina, Minas Gerais. He died in 1978, two years later his photos were exhibited for the first time in Diamantina. His collection includes 5544 negatives, most of them made of glass and which, since 2015, have been under the care of Instituto Moreira Salles.

Curated by Eucanaã Ferraz, it was exhibited at the IMS in Rio and will be on display until April 15 at the IMS in São Paulo. Also excellent is the 180-page catalogue, Chichico Alkmim, Photographer.

The exhibition, which is divided into six parts, has portraits taken in the studio, landscapes, portraits taken outside the studio and also a museum. It displays contraptions used in Chichico's laboratory, almost 300 glass negatives, as well as a kind of manual showing how to photograph. According to Eucanaã Ferraz, the set provides “a kind of portrait of Brazil”. With reason. In front of Chichico's lens, rich, poor, black and white posed. In common, a serene and solemn haughtiness. In fact, a portrait of a Brazil that would be very welcome today.

 

*Hélio Campos Mello is a photojournalist and co-founder of Brasileiro s Editora. He participated in the refounding of Agência Estado, of the Estado de S.Paulo group. He was editor-in-chief of the magazine Istoé and the magazine Brasileiros. He has won several Esso Awards. In this issue, he collaborated with the article by Chichico Alkmim and translated several of the texts into English.

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