Part 1: The Early Days of Fashion Photography in Brazil
HIS RETURN TO BRAZIL
Otto returned to Brazil in early 1955 and set about planning and building his first photography studio at the family home on the outskirts of Porto Alegre. This space synthesized his vision, his anxieties, and his aspirations as a young artist and photographer searching for his own creative path.
THE BEGINNING IN RIO
In 1956 Otto moved to work in Rio de Janeiro. This was a successful period in his life, with the publication of some of his photographic work and his Porto Alegre studio project in the prestigious architecture magazine Módulo, edited by Oscar Niemeyer; an individual exhibition at the Oca gallery run by the designer Sergio Bernardes; and a commission by André Midani to photograph the cover for Dorival Caymmi's first LP for the Odeon record label.
THE INFLUENCE OF VISUAL ARTS
At the end of 1957 Otto moved to São Paulo and married Catherine J. J. De Wit, with whom he would have 4 children (Ian, 1959, Victor, 1961, Catherine, 1963 and Tânia, 1965). During his time in São Paulo, he become closely involved with the local art scene and the avant-gardes, especially the Magic Realism movement led by Wesley Duke Lee. This group sometimes met at Otto's studio and it had a direct influence on his work.
ADVERTISING AND FASHION
Video shown in the exhibition space at "Otto Stupakoff: Beauty and Anxiety" 4'25"
During a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Otto Stupakoff took what he claimed was the first original fashion photograph ever taken in Brazil. In reference to his photo of the model Duda Cavalcanti, he told this story: "I had never seen a fashion photo published in Brazil until I took that first one. I asked Dener (Pamplona, the stylist) to lend me an outfit. I packed it in my suitcase and jumped on a bus to Rio de Janeiro. Once there, I met up with my lover, Duda Cavalcanti, and we went to the home of my friend, the painter and samba singer Heitor dos Prazeres. He lived in an art-nouveau house and I got Duda to pose on his terrace wearing the dress Dener had made. It was a white and navy dress. That day, on the terrace of Heitor's house with Duda wearing Dener, the first ever Brazilian fashion photo was taken. I took the photo for myself and it was never published." The photo, which Otto described in this interview but which has never been found, is represented by this other picture with his muse, Duda Cavalcanti.
THE RHODIA CAMPAIGNS
As his relationship with the agency Standard Propaganda grew stronger (he would continue working with them until 1964), Otto photographed major campaigns for Rhodia, and he and his contemporaries launched a new era for fashion editorials in Brazil as photographs replaced illustrations.
His partnership with Rhodia culminated in the publication of a 24-page supplement entitled "Fashionable Celebrities for Winter 1961" for Manchete magazine. This was the biggest fashion supplement that had ever been published in Brazil, and the pictures of celebrities including Tom Jobim, Jorge Amado, Oscar Niemeyer, Manabu Mabe, and Millôr Fernandes with the top models of the day had a huge impact.
FASHION/IMS - from the Otto Stupakoff exhibition "Beauty and Anxiety": Instituto Moreira Salles Rio de Janeiro from December 13, 2016 through April 16, 2017.
Curation: Sergio Burgi and Bob Wolfenson
Continue your visit in:
Part 2: Otto Stupakoff and Fashion Photography: His International Career
Part 3: Otto Stupakoff and Fashion Photography: His Studio
The video for this section was edited by Laura Liuzzi for the show's exhibition space. Follow this link to see a documentary about Stupakoff's relationship with the visual arts: http://ims.com.br/ims/visite/exposicoes/otto-stupakoff-beleza-e-inquietude/videos