Nair Benedicto (São Paulo SP 1940). Photographer. She graduated in radio and television from the Escola de Comunicações e Artes da Universidade de São Paulo - ECA/USP [School of Communication and Arts of the University of São Paulo], in 1972. In this year, she began her professional career in São Paulo, producing audio-visual presentations and working as a free-lance photographer in the Jornal da Tarde [Afternoon Paper]. In 1979, she set up the F4 Photojournalism Agency, together with Juca Martins, Delfim Martins and Ricardo Malta. She collaborated in national and international magazines, like Veja, IstoÉ, Marie Clair, Paris Match, Newsweek and Time, as well as developing essays on social issues and popular culture. In the 1980s, she produced mostly audio-visual and photographic documentaries on the predicament of women and children in Latin America, exhibiting her works in Brazil and overseas. In 1991, together with Stefania Bril, Marcos Santilli, Rubens Fernandes Júnior, Fausto Chermont and others, she founded the Núcleo de Amigos da Fotografia - NAfoto [Friends of Photography Society], which held the event, São Paulo International Month of Photography. Parallel to these activities, she set up the N-Images Agency and began organizing exhibitions and delivering courses and lectures in diverse states of Brazil. She was awarded the 11th Abril Prize of Photojournalism, in 1985, among others. She published the books, A Greve do ABC [The ABC Strike], 1980, A Questão do Menor [The Minority Issue], 1980, in partnership with Juca Martins, and As Melhores Fotos de Nair Benedicto [The Best Photos of Nair Benedicto], 1988, among others.
Nair Benedicto belongs to the generation of Brazilian photojournalists noted for setting up the first photographic agencies in the country, in the 1980s. These firms were modeled after the French agency, Magnum Photos, founded in 1947 by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, among others, and aimed at bringing social issues to public attention through the use of the photographer's subjective point of view as a tool of denouncement. These agencies created new prospects for professional photographers outside the editorial room of the newspapers, giving them greater autonomy to select assignments and edit their work. Together with Marcos Santilli and Juca Martins, Benedicto also played an important role in securing copy and labor rights for photographers.
After documenting the popular rallies that marked the last years of the military dictatorship in Brazil, like the strikes in São Paulo's ABC region, Benedicto set about documenting marginalized groups like women, destitute children and Indian communities, approaching her subjects nearly always at eye level and close-up. These features render an objective appearance to her shots, as if the photographer's presence had had no bearing on the events registered. In her essays, she not only shows female workers, but also captures her expressions and sentiments, like the yearning to be loved and desired.