“Grand Dame of the photographic industry” passes away



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

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

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

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

1939-1945 – World War II fragments Keystone but doesn’t interrupt its activities: German bombs destroy the headquarters of the company in London; the Parisian agency installs itself in a laboratory truck. Part of the Garai family, Arnaldo, Irene and Agnes (father, mother and daughter) happen to be visiting Brazil when the Second World War breaks out and decide to stay in the country. At this time Agnes Garai is 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 continue her studies and attends University to Study Business Administration. Going on to work for the Phillips company for 20 years.

1968 – upon taking over the management of Keystone Brazil Agnes Garai expands 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.