'In 1940, the United States State Department was the U.S. agency most responsible for designing and implementing the Good Neighbor Policy in Latin America during World War II. Under a program titled the ‘Office of Inter-American Affairs’ (OIAA), Nelson Rockefeler', the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, sent Genevieve Naylor and her husband,, the painter Misha Reznikoff to Brazil. Part of the Good Neighbour Policiy, Naylor's task to promote American goodwill and to record a virtual "day in the life" photo montage of all aspects of Brazilian society for the American public. To do this Naylor and Reznikoff traveled up and down the eastern coast and interior sections of Brazi, photogrpahing its three main regions: the industrialized, politically powerful Central South; the traditional, still agriculturally productive Northeast; and the not-so-virgin Amazon basin. She produced over 1600 images.
It was a difficult task due to the fact that, for all the country was in the throes of rapid change as a result of Getulio Vargas's new social programmes, and a more open stance towards foreign relations, the Department of Press and Propaganda, had imposed quite severe restrictions. Nonetheless,, she tried to document as much of a vast socially and culturally diverse Brazilian population as possible (much of which was carefully hidden from foreigners. Her images incorporate many themes, be it labour, leisure, religious worship.
Stylistically, some have argued for the influence in her photogrpahic work of film stylists such as Flaherty, Eisenstein, and John Ford. Others argue that her influence can be seen in the work of subsequent Brazilian film makers: the austere intimacy of Sebastiao Salgado's photographs, or the stark, poetic mises-en-scenes of exponents of Brazil's Cinema Novo, such as filmmakers Nelson Pereira dos Santos (especially Vidas Secas, Rio 40 Graus) and Glauber Rocha (Antonio das Mortes, Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol).
"Her photographs were exhibited at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) upon Naylor's return to the United States in 1943. This one woman MoMA show - a rarity for that day - then went on tour across the United States in 1944"
See the video 'Brazilian Images: The 1940s Photographs of Genevieve Naylor' by Robert Levine and Peter Reznikoff.