Trying to become somebody else: Somos ainda induzidos pelos retratos das vedetas de cinema?

Joana Isabel Duarte


The photographs of movie stars - particularly the publicity portraits created by still photographers, in order to promote the star and lor the films in which he/she participates - constituted,  between  the decades of 20 to so  of the 2oth  century,  a fundamental  part of the complex  network of the star system, impelling a growing cult to the stars and triggering processes of identification and emulation regarding those portrayed.

The presence of the portraits of movie stars in the visual culture of the 2oth century is  undeniable:   it  has  been  conveyed  through   magazine  covers,  books,  posters, printed  cards. The  photography  of stars calls for  reflection  themes  such  as  the reception of these images in  the viewers and  portrait  as an "object of cult" and ersatz of the person portrayed; to the point that some photos of the stars prove to be much  more  iconic  (because  they  are actually  seen and  known) than  the  films themselves.

The  present  article  intends   to  reflect  on  the  portraits  of  stars,  the  role  and contribution  of  this  photographic  genre  in  the  formation   of  an  admiration, "idolatry"  and  mimicry  of the vedette. This study  will be based on the analysis of primary  sources  such  as  periodical  specialized  press, studies  of  the  history  of photography,  cinema  and  anthropology.  Understanding how  we are induced  by these portraits and reflecting in the present on the permanence  of its original role

- that of enchanting us and making us dream - is, therefore, one of the aims of this work.

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