The connection of Brazilian photographer, entrepreneur and activist João Henrique de Orleans e Bragança, Prince of Orleans and Bragança, to Egypt transcends his being the son of Prince Joao Maria de Orleans and Bragança and Egyptian Princess Fátima Scherifa Toussoun. In fact, his interest in capturing the beauty of both Brazil and Egypt has even deeper roots in his life and his family.
Prince Joao is the great-great-grandson of the last Emperor of Brazil Pedro II, who reigned the country from 1840 until 1889, when Brazil became a Republic. Pedro II was a man of arts, culture and sciences; and became the first Brazilian photographer when he acquired a daguerreotype in 1840.
Prince Joao, whose work is exhibited in Cairo for the first time, has also developed a passion for photography in the 1970’s, which resulted in 12 published books of images taken during extensive travels across Brazil, capturing its people, diversity and nature. His Egyptian roots have also carried him to travels in Egypt in which he photographed its people, culture and landscapes.
The Prince’s great-great-grandfather himself had a renowned interest in "orientalist" studies and came to Egypt twice. First in 1871, when he visited Alexandria, Suez and Cairo; and in 1876, when he led a larger expedition to Upper Egypt up to the Second Cataract, in today’s Sudan and under the waters of Lake Nasser, as well as to other parts of the Middle East.
Pedro II was passionate about photography and one of the first and most important photo collectors of the 19th century, having bought pieces from the best photographers of his time. His collection was composed of 23.000 photographs, 500 of which are from his travels in Egypt. Before his death, the Emperor donated his entire collection to the National Library.
The photos have been categorized, digitalized and exhibited for the first time in Sao Paulo, in 2003.