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Exhibition: Sir Benjamin Stone: Observations in Brazil 1893

Sir Benjamin Stone: Observations in Brazil 1893 presents 50 previously unpublished photographs by the noted Victorian photographer taken during his journey to Brazil in 1893.

Curated by Rodrigo Orrantia and Pete James from the Stone archive at the Library of Birmingham the exhibition tells the notable Englishman’s journey as part of a Royal Astronomical Society scientific mission to view and record a full solar eclipse.  In addition to recording the natural phenomenon, Stone also made a large series of photographs documenting his journey by sea to Brazil and the people, places and sites which greeted him throughout the expedition. 

A keen observer of people and customs in England, Stone’s images convey the different stories of Brazil on the eve of industrialisation. A land of extreme contrasts, this exhibition reveals recently freed African slaves, indigenous tribes of the Amazon, European settlers, the wealthy and dispossessed, and those venturing to this land in search of a promising future.  In many of these images his subject’s quizzical gaze make it evident that Stone was as much the observed as the observer.

This exhibition is an invitation to travel back in time and witness a nation in the eve of modernisation, a unique contrast between the untouched wilderness of the Amazon, and the relentless pace of industrialization, flourishing in cities like Manaus, capital of the rubber trade at the start of the Twentieth Century.

Sir Benjamin Stone: Observations in Brazil 1893
Venue: Sala Brasil, Embassy of Brazil, 14-16 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5BL
Dates: 11 September - 7 November, 2014

Image: Sir Benjamin Stone, Solar Eclipse Station, Paracuru, Brazil, 1893

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