Biographical / Historical
Walter Garbe was a German photographer who lived and worked in Brazil. He was the son of Ernest (Ernesto) Garbe (1853-1925), a German naturalist who worked for the Museu Paulista in São Paulo, Brazil from 1902 until his death in 1925. In 1906, Walter accompanied his father on an expedition to the region surrounding the Doce River. They began the journey at the Roce River's intersection with the border of Minas Gerais, followed it to Linhares, and then went on to Lagoa Juparanã. While the aims of this first expedition were exploration and collecting zoological specimen, Walter Garbe soon returned to the Doce River on his own. Between March and May 1909, he made multiple excursions to this region to take ethnographic photos and notes documenting the Botocudo communities in Espírito Santo. Garbe recorded information about the varying customs, clothing, food, and daily activities of these communities. Garbe also acquired several objects from the Botocudo, including flutes, weapons, and jewelry, to give to the Paulista Museum. In 1911, this collection of photographs was published with commentary in the Paulista Museum's magazine. The article, "Os botocudos do Rio Doce," was written by Herman von Ihering, director of the museum.
Walter Garbe became a well-known photographer throughout Brazil. While Garbe was living in Santa Leopoldina in 1922, the city hired him to create cinematographic film of its waterfalls, rivers, city life, commercial endeavors (such as its transportation of coffee), and festivals. In 1923, Garbe continued to work as a photographer in Espírito Santo for the Secretary of Agriculture. From October 1932 to April 1933, Garbe joined Carlos Camargo and Olivério Pinto in an expedition to collect birds from Bahia and Madre de Deus. From 1928 to 1937, Garbe worked and possibly lived in São Paulo.
For more information on Walter Garbe, see "Os índios sob as lentes de Walter Garbe, em 1909" on Brasiliana Fotografica.