Joshua Benoliel

A photojournalist isn't merely someone who presses the shutter. That's clear in Benoliel. He photographs the main events of his time, but, beyond content, his photographs are aesthetically beautiful. Important moments of the History of Portugal are remembered through his work


Joshua Benoliel's first photograph was published in the magazine Tiro Civil, in 1899. The photographer was born in 1873, from a Jewish family established in Cape Verde.

It's in the first two decades of the 20th century that his work becomes noticeable. He accompanies the Royal House, which likes his work and invites him to become the official photographer of their trips. He was a supporter of the monarch cause, though he always gave the same answer to the question: "Are you a royalist or a republican?": "I'm a photographer".

His photographs are characterised by the intimacy and humanism used in his approach to the subjects.



Joshua Benoliel is considered the creator of photo coverage in Portugal. He covered great events from his time, such as the trips of kings D. Carlos and D. Manuel II abroad. The 1910 Revolution and the royalist coups during Primeira República (First Republic) were also portrayed by Joshua Benoliel's lens.

During World War 1, the photographer accompanied the Portuguese army, fighting in Flanders. He worked for newspaper O Século and for the magazine of the same newspaper, Illustração Portugueza. He also worked with the magazines O Occidente (1878-1915) e Panorama (1837-1868). His work was also published in Brazil, in the publications Atlantida (1915-1920) and Brasil-Portugal (1899-1914). On the 13th of December, 1921, he was awarded Ordem Militar de Sant'Iago da Espada.


Joshua Benoliel, through his worked, paved the way for Photojournalism to have, nowadays, its own space in Portugal:

Photojournalist Eduardo Gageiro said, in 2005, to Jornal de Letras: "A photojournalist isn't merely someone who presses the shutter. That's clear in Benoliel. He photographed the main events of his time, but, beyond content, his photographs are aesthetically beautiful. That's what I appreciate about his work, especially if we consider that there weren't digital cameras at the time, not even automatic ones, film was really slow. I'm amazed at the fact that he - and others, even though he is the exponent - could make those amazing pictures".


Joshua Benoliel passed away on the 3rd of February, 1932, at 59 years old, leaving a photographic inheritance of Portugal and its people.