The Brazilian Photographs of Genevieve Naylor: 1940-1943
By Robert M. Levine
Duke University Press, 1998, 155 pp.
Levine, director of the Latin American Program at the University of Miami, has brought together a remarkable pictorial record of Brazil in the early 1940s. He has selected a hundred of the most evocative images captured by Genevieve Naylor, who later became well known through her work in fashion and as Eleanor Roosevelt's personal photographer. This elegant volume is also a tribute to the farsightedness of the U.S. Office of Inter-American Affairs under the leadership of Nelson Rockefeller. To help cement an anti-Nazi alliance with South America's largest nation and promote mutual cultural awareness, Rockefeller sent an extraordinary group of Americans to Brazil, including Orson Welles, Walt Disney, and Errol Flynn. Naylor, sent to create photographs for propaganda purposes, soon broke free of the official restrictions, portraying not only the elites but also rural peasants, religious festivals, workers crammed onto Rio trams, and ordinary Brazilians of all races.