Pele - Art Life Football - Herrera Archive

The Brazilian football star Pelé, dubbed the “athlete of the century,” was accompanied by photographer José Dias Herrera from 1956 to 1966, who captured his rise from budding athlete to global icon. Herrera gained unprecedented access to Pelé’s personal life and victories on the field, creating iconic photographs that would shape his image for decades.

Jose Dias Herrera, born in São Paulo in 1920 to Spanish immigrant parents, and based in Santos from the age of seven, he learned the art of photography at just 14 in a studio laboratory and went on to document the changing city of Santos. He began his photographic career in 1937 as a photographer at the Gazettenewspaper. In 1953 he moved to the Tribunade Santos, where he served until 1980 before transferring to the city’s Department of Communication.