José Medeiros was born in 1921 in Teresina (Nordeste).
His father taught him photograph techniques when he was only 12. At the age of 18, he moved to Rio to study architecture but followed his passion and began working with reviews, taking photos of celebrities. After the war, the French photographer Jean Manzon invited him to join the new review O Cruzeiro. It is the beginning of a new adventure full of liberty and boldness, in his own words. O Cruzeiro helped Brazil to understand its diversity, even if it also served the interests of Getulio Vargas, his authoritarian regime and the construction of national identity.
Medeiros passed away in 1990; the entirety of his work is held at the Instituto Moreira Salles (IMS). The collections holds about 20,000 negatives. He also has photographs displayed in different museums around the world.