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Updated: Keystone Brazil Director Agnes Garai dies aged 92

Agnes Garai (1926-2018) Photo supplied

Agnes Garai a director of photo agency Keystone Brazil for 50 years  -the niece and last descendant of Keystone co-founder Bert Garai – has died. She had been suffering from poor health for the last year which deteriorated.  

18th April: See the update from Keystone below, chronicling Agnes’ life.

A church service took place today, 6th of April 2018 at 9am, followed by a private cremation.


Industry reaction:
“Agnes was a treasure and already greatly missed. Loved hearing her stories of Keystone back in the day when they were the largest news picture service in the world. When I bought the original Keystone almost two decades ago, she was first person I reached out to. Her friendship was invaluable and I wish to send ‘ un grande abraco ‘ to her family and friends worldwide, we are better having known her.”
Scott, CEO Keystone Press Agency

Keystone  Brazil sent PAN the following about Agnes Garai:

The last descendant of Keystone co-founder Bert Garai,  Agnes Garai passed away on the 5thof April from a heart attack (AMI) while swimming.  A private funeral and cremation took place on the 6thof April 2018, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

1914 – Bert Garai, Hungarian immigrant, disembarked in New York. Launched fashion for informal celebrity photos and news services in the Press Illustrating Service. The new journalistic style was a total success. The Press Illustrating Service eventually became the Keystone View Company.

1918 – End of the First World War. Garai returned to Europe to document post-war changes. He formed a network of clients and partners and made London his home.

1923 and 1927 – Keystone branches were opened in Berlin and Paris, with the Paris branch under the direction of Bert’s brother, Alexandre Garai.

1939-1945 – World War II fragmented Keystone but didn’t interrupt its activities: German bombs destroyed the headquarters of the company in London; the Parisian agency installed itself in a laboratory truck. Part of the Garai family, Arnaldo, Irene and Agnes (father, mother and daughter) happened to be visiting Brazil when the Second World War broke out and decided to stay in the country. At this time Agnes Garai was 12 years old.

1952 – At the suggestion of Arnaldo’s brothers, Alexander and Bert, Keystone was founded in Brazil, with Agnes’s father Arnaldo in charge of the operation. Agnes continued her studies and attended University to Study Business Administration. She went on to work for the Phillips company for 20 years.

1968 – upon taking over the management of Keystone Brazil Agnes Garai expanded the photographic and journalistic services. At this time the Agency also started investing in advertising, providing photographs for advertising and graphic production. Making it the largest company of its kind in the country, receiving the prestigious award for best image provider in Brazilian communication sector twice. Keystone could now boast offices in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

Agnes was an extremely talented and successful business woman. Speaking eight languages she made numerous friends in the international picture industry.

Her Passion for photography and excellent relationship with the international community, made her the “Grand Dame of the photographic industry”, seeing her receive the CEPIC “Lifelong Contribution” award in 2010.

Agnes had a great appetite for life which she expressed in her passion for exercise. She was an accomplished tennis player and swimmer.

Her knowledge, wisdom and fabulous sense of humour will be remembered by all of those who had the privilege of meeting her. She has left behind her a truly incredible legacy!

“Agnes Garai  will be always among us. She has gone but left with us a legacy of knowledge, strength and harmony. We will never forget her combine presence and sincere words” – Jorge Borges – CEO – Keystone Brazil.

View all Keystone articles on PAN

At the 2010 CEPIC Annual Congress Agnes was honoured for her long professional career and total dedication to the World photographic industry.

Keystone Press Agency was founded in the early 1900’s in London by Bert Garai. The agency soon established a Paris office and in 1960 Keystone photographer Bob Moynier founded the Canadian office, located in Montreal.  Keystone was the worlds largest photo agency in the 1940’s / 50’s with offices in over 20 countries. The agency was bought by Zuma Press in 2003.

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