Orlando Ribeiro, photographer

Self-portrait, ca 1940.
Self-portrait, with Leica ca 1937.

There is a growing interest in and appreciation of the photography by Orlando Ribeiro. It is considered an important aspect of his work and constitutes a valuable part of his legacy. Because of the costs of including photographs in the publication of his works, only in the 90s his photographic work was (re)discovered for the general public, after the exhibition Finisterra, organized in 1994 in the framework of the Encontros de Fotografia de Coimbra.


Catalogue of the exhibition "Finisterra"
Catalogue of the exhibition "Finisterra", 1994

"Orlando Ribeiro’s photographic images are, as his writing, sincere, authentic, full of a truth accepted as external, documents of reality. But also undeniably unique, as being part of an aesthetical project in which the lands, the men and their realities, translated into culture of obvious ecological nature, speak of a world so close and so far away that fills us with anguish and nostalgia" (M. Tereza Siza, in Finisterra, 1994).

After Finisterra, several other exhibitions and publications have been disclosing Orlando Ribeiro’s photography. In November 1997, the exhibition Orlando Ribeiro e as terras da Idanha (Orlando Ribeiro and the lands of Idanha) was organised by the Centro Cultural Raiano, of Idanha-a-Nova. In the same year, Portugal presented an exhibition at the Feira do Livro de Frankfurt (Alemanha), Portuguese photography since 1854: livro de viagens, to divulge the work of a significant number of Portuguese photographers, with Orlando Ribeiro among them.

The book "Orlando Ribeiro seguido de uma viagem breve à Serra da Estrela", de Duarte Belo.
The book "Orlando Ribeiro seguido de uma viagem breve à Serra da Estrela", 1999

Another exhibition was held in Lisbon, in 1999, Orlando Ribeiro, seguido de uma viagem breve à Serra da Estrela (Orlando Ribeiro, followed by a travel to the Serra da Estrela) organised as an homage by the photographer Duarte Belo. By the end of 2003, Mário Neves, responsible for the photographic archive of the Centro de Estudos Geográficos de Lisboa, organized the exhibition Além-Mar. Viagens de Orlando Ribeiro (Overseas. Orlando Ribeiro’s Travels), presented during the IV Jornadas de Geografia e Planeamento (IV Meeting of Geography and Planning) at the University of Minho.

The Orlando Ribeiro Library, inaugurated in December 2003, has been a especially outstanding space for other exhibitions about the geographer and his travels: Não se faz bem Geografia quando se faz só Geografia – Viagens imaginárias com Orlando Ribeiro (Good Geography is more than just Geography – Imaginary travels with Orlando Ribeiro) in 2003, and Orlando Ribeiro – a casa e o Mundo (Orlando Ribeiro – The home and the World), in 2004. In the later, his photography had a prominent presence. In 2005 another exhibition took place at the Military Stonemason Museum, at Alcains: Formas construtivas elementares (Elementary Constructive Forms). Solange Almeida was the coordinator of this exhibition.