(photography establishment opened in Florence in 1854)
The Fratelli Alinari first began in Florence, at the chalcographer Luigi Bardi. Thanks to his encouragement, Leopoldo Alinari (Florence 1832–1865) devoted himself to studying photography, with the goal of creating a new illustration tool to replace engraving. Around 1852, Leopoldo opened his own photo lab on Via Cornina and soon after, in 1854, with his brothers Romualdo (Florence 1830–1891) and Giuseppe (Florence 1836–1891) established the Fratelli Alinari company. Since 1855 the quality and prestige of Alinari is recognized around the world. The Fratelli Alinari production also extends to documenting the art, architecture, and landscape of the entire Italian peninsula, alongside the work from the celebrated posing studio found on Via Nazionale, where the Alinari brothers opened shop in 1863, as well as their commissions for private clients. This gave rise to the vast Alinari Archive, which offers a varied perspective of society between the late 1800s and the early decades of the 1900s.
(Terni 1814 – Rome 1880 circa)
A Roman painter and photographer, until 1865 he shared his studio on Via Fontanella Borghese with Pompeo Molins, and afterwards he moved with Enrico Verzaschi to Via di Ripetta, where he stayed until 1875. Altobelli was the official photographer of the Academy of France and of the Works of Art for the Roman Railways. In 1867, he successfully took part in the World’s Fair in Paris, presenting “six plates portraying monuments in Rome in photographs, with the new system preferred by the Pontifical Government,” and was one of the first to photograph the breach of Porta Pia, having the soldiers pose to obtain a souvenir of the event. Also, some of his most memorable shots include the photograph of the tomb erected on February 17, 1878 in the Sistine Chapel for the funeral of the deceased Pope Pius IX.
Son of the famous English photographer James (1813–1877), a photography pioneer in Rome, he successfully continued his practice and opened his own business on Via Salaria 7. He carried out photo campaigns across Italy, creating a thorough documentation of the country’s historical, artistic, and landscape heritage until he went abroad, to Spain and England. His career is studded with numerous recognitions. His sons Alessandro, Giorgio, and Guglielmo (who died suddenly in 1912) continued their father’s work until 1963, when the entire archive, with over 30,000 negatives on glass plates, became part of the Alinari Archives in Florence.
(Blencarn 1813 – Rome 1877)
Anderson, whose real name is Isaac Atkinson, displayed, even as a child, great interest in art. Intent on studying painting, he went to Paris, where he adopted his first pen name: William Nugent Dunbar. Then, in 1838, he moved from Paris to Rome and took the name James Anderson. He married Maria de Mutis, who gave him four children. His interest in photography began in 1849 and, in 1853, he established a photo company that, five years later, in 1859, published his first print catalogue. Finally, in 1862, he took part in the London Fair.
(Lissa 1846 - Lehonenberg 1907)
He was one of the scientists who, in the second half of the 1800s, began studying the possible technological applications of photography. His groundbreaking experiments, regarding second shutters, are very important also for the advent of cinema. Between 1881 and 1883, almost at the same time as the research of Eadweard Muybridge and Jules-Etienne Marey, Anschütz conducted satisfactory chronophotographic trials and was able to screen a sequence of twenty-four photos using an instrument he had invented and built: the electrotachyscope, a device that overlaps a spark of light to each diapositive as it passes, thus presenting the illusion of motion with transparent serial photographs.
After training at Luca Comerio’s photo studio, at nineteen he opened his own atelier and became a well-known photographer for important figures in Milan. At first, his output ranged from architecture to landscape, but he also immortalized war events in the early century, like the Italian occupation of Tripoli and World War I. Between 1918 and 1920, Aragozzini became interested in industrial and advertising photography for prestigious companies, from FIAT to Pirelli. Afterwards, for the City of Milan he created an important documentation of the new skyscrapers and the subway. After 1950 he began working with his son Fulvio and opened the company “Aragozzini e figli,” continuing his previous collaboration with Italy’s main industries.
(Reggio Emilia 1880 – Milan 1967)
At twenty-two he left Reggio Emilia for Milan where, in 1908, he opened his photo studio on Via Brera 5. His passion for the theatre led him to approach the world of culture and performance. In fact, his atelier quickly became a key location for celebrities of the age who wanted him to take their portraits. In 1922, he took part in the first International World’s Fair of Photography in Turin, while, in 1930, he was the official photographer of the wedding between Edda Mussolini and Galeazzo Ciano. In 1965, aware of the loss of popularity of portraiture in favor of a new aesthetic notion based on instantaneous shots, he stated he no longer wished to keep up with the trends and chose to close his business.
After his degree in engineering, from university in Turin in 1921, he became interested in photography and worked, for a few years, with the Fratelli Alinari company as the director. In the late 1920s, he established the Istituto Fotocromo Italiano and, at the same time, he began taking his first photographs with his Leica, and then shifted to large format (6 × 6). From the second half of the 1930s and throughout the 1960s he was a key player on the Italian scene as a photography enthusiast and was a founder of the “Gruppo fotografico fiorentino,” as well as a member of the important photography association “La Bussola.” His pictures are not unique or impressive; quite the contrary, they always maintain a certain compositional rigor inspired by traditional Italian photography combined with his own view of a photographer who transforms scenes from life and views into timeless images.
(Volpedo 1888 – Turin 1958)
A criminal lawyer, he took interest in photography as an enthusiast, participating in numerous contests. In 1928, he moved to Milan, where he became managing director of Tensi, a well-known photographic material company. Baravalle is poised between “modernism” and “geometrism,” with important painterly influences. He gave preference to natural subjects, especially mountains and “pastoral” photography. His love for nature was confirmed after the war, when his work in photography grew less and eventually gave way to his passion for floriculture.
(born between 1820 and 1825 circa – 1903 circa)
Information about Beato is scarce and uncertain. Supposedly born between 1820 and 1825, and then becoming a British citizen, he followed his brother Felice to India, where, however, he did not remain for long. In fact, in 1862, he moved to Luxor, in Egypt, where he opened his photography studio.
Between 1870 and 1888, he created numerous images, systematically documenting the ruins of ancient Egyptian civilization.
(Corfu ? 1825 circa – Mandalay 1904)
Felice Beato’s practice is documented starting in 1853 in Constantinople. In 1855, with his brother-in-law James Robertson, he carried out a photo campaign in Crimea followed, two years later, by a reportage on the Lucknow massacres, in India. In 1860, his presence in China is attested by war images at Fort Taku. In China, Felice Beato met the English artist Charles Wirgman, who moved to Japan in 1861. Even though it cannot be proven that Beato followed Wirgman to Japan at that time, in 1863, Felice was a part of the Yokohama Foreign Settlement and here he opened his own photo studio that would have great success and influence local photography to such a degree it was even called a “school.”
(Meximieux 1820 – Lyons1889)
Active between 1842 and 1872 in various Italian cities, the first accounts of him can be found on the labels of some daguerreotypes from Genoa but, starting in 1856, his main photo shop was located in Naples.
The numerous awards he won bear witness to his successful business. Very attentive to technical evolution, he stopped using the daguerreotype as soon as the new negative-positive procedure, introduced by William Henry Fox Talbot, was able to provide high-quality images. He then passed to wet collodion process and then the dry collodion process. He was also the pioneer of stereoscopic photography in Italy and worked as a portraitist and witness to contemporary events.
(Capua 1866 – 1929)
His talent for drawing and the figurative arts in general, joined with a marked passion for nature in all its expressions, led Biondi to enroll at the Fine Arts Academy of Naples, where he drew, painted, and experimented non-stop and with all techniques. His interest in photography was born as a means to explore his main art, and should be considered as a basic element in the development of his painting themes, imbued by an intimist interpretation of rural, country life in the late 1800s.
(studio active from 1852 to 1870 circa)
Sons of the painter Louis François Bisson, Louis Auguste (Paris 1814 – 1876) and Auguste Rosalie (Paris 1826 – 1900) started testing the new daguerreotype technique along with their father around 1840. They then passed from negatives to the collodion process. In 1852, they decided to team up and their photographs bore the stamp “Bisson Frères.”
The Bisson brothers worked with both the daguerreotype and with wet, dry, and albumen collodion, in large format. They experimented with innovative filters and plate gilding and silvering methods through electrolysis. They were also pioneers in aerial photography and patented photographs on transparent paper. Alongside this technical proliferation, theirs was also a vast and eclectic choice of subjects, ranging from portraits, landscape, events, art images, archeology, animals, and reproductions for industrial purposes.
(Lille 1802 – 1872)
Blanquart-Evrard is known for having perfected the calotype process, invented in 1841 by William Henry Fox Talbot, with the use of a paper for development that greatly cut back on printing times. This innovative system allowed photographers to obtain over 4,000 positives in a single day and the silver chloride solution used in the development gave the pictures a characteristic slate gray color, as opposed to the brown shades typical of Talbot’s output. In the summer of 1851, the Imprimerie Photographique, founded in Lille in 1850 by Blanquart-Evrard, published the first issue of the Album photographique de l’Artiste et de l’Amateur, containing thirty-six positives made with the new method, which ranged from reproductions of works of art, landscape, and genre scenes, always in the romantic lithograph style and an elegant mounting on cardboard.
Born into a family of photographers from four generations, Boissonnas became a member of the Société Genevoise de Photographie in 1887, after taking over his father’s studio. Initially known for his shots of the Mont Blanc, which for the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900 won him the gold medal, he soon developed a special affinity with Greece and Hellenistic culture. Beginning in 1903 he took numerous trips to Greece, which were decisive in his output. In 1910, he published the album In Grecia attraverso monti e valli, while in 1913, he photographed Macedonia and Epirus, climbed Mount Olympus for the first time, and explored Mount Athos, immortalizing the magic of these places in his pictures.
(St. Hippolyte du Fort 1831 – Alès 1885)
After having practiced bookbinding for various years, he began taking photographs and using the heliogravure around 1860, under the guidance of Niépce de Saint Victor, cousin of Nicephore Niépce. In 1865, Bonfils opened his photo studio in Alès, in southern France. Infatuated with the beauty of Lebanon which he visited during his military service, in 1867 he decided to move to Beirut with his family, where he opened his own atelier. Here, with the help of his wife Lydie, Bonfils had a successful business. In fact, in 1870 his catalogue boasted 15,000 prints obtained from 591 negatives on Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Greece, and over 9,000 stereoscopic views.
(Staffordshire 1834 – Nottingham 1910)
Initially a bank clerk, beginning in 1857 he turned to professional photography. Following major photo expeditions at the time, aimed at documenting almost unexplored areas, in 1863 Bourne embarked on a journey across India where he photographed various regions and even climbed the Himalaya, accompanied by thirty coolies who carried his luggage and photo equipment to 4,500 meters above sea level. Afterwards, with Sheperd he opened a photo distribution company in Simla and then, in 1870, in Calcutta. When he started managing a cotton factory, Bourne divided his time between India and England but kept photographing until his death.
(New York 1823 – 1896)
In 1844, Brady opened his atelier on Broadway, but starting in 1847 the major developments with the daguerreotype that swept across the United States allowed him to establish a studio in Washington, DC, as well. Due to the many requests for daguerreotypes, portraits were entrusted to a series of assistants and Brady’s name appeared on its own, as a guarantee of high-quality standards. In 1860, Brady published The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, a series of twelve portraits of famous people in America reproduced in lithograph. That same year, Brady took the portrait of the President, Abraham Lincoln, who personally invited him to document, along with Gardner and Timothy O’ Sullivan, the Civil War, thereby creating the first war photoreportage.
(Padua 1813 – Venice 1899)
After moving to Venice, following brief stays in Florence and Rome, this painter from Padua who on May 13, 1830 became an “art member” of the Venetian Fine Arts Academy, took up photography as a study tool aimed at improving his painting experiments, above all regarding perspective and realism. Bresolin made high-quality photo prints, characterized by extreme compositional rigor, which portray palaces and monuments in Venice with the spirit of systematic photo recording, using, at first, the calotype and afterwards wet collodion negatives. In 1864, appointed professor of Landscape at the Academy, he gave up photography and devoted all his time to painting. He then sold his archive of plates to the photographer Carlo Ponti.
Like the Alinari brothers, he was initially an engraver and photo editor. At the age of eleven he worked with the publisher Batelli and attended the famous engraving school of Antonio Perfetti. He then worked under the chalcographer Achille Paris as a photo editor, an activity he would later take part in on commission with the chalcography of Luigi Bardi, who also employed Leopoldo Alinari. He then opened his own business, which printed labels, coats-of-arms, and address, teaming up with a photographer to create portraits of celebrities to include in his elegant creations. Around 1860, he decided to personally take the photographs, so he bought from his partner the equipment and opened Giacomo Brogi Fotografo, as he started taking photo campaigns across Italy to document its art, landscape, and customs.
Born in Trieste, as a child he moved to Zurich with his family. He became an excursionist amidst the mountains of Switzerland. In 1921, at the age of twenty-four, Brunner graduated in electronic engineering and that same year he returned to Trieste, where his passion for mountains found new impulse. Brunner went on important climbing excursions, at first along the Alpi Giulie and then across the entire Alps until 1966, when he went on his final climb on the Creta Grauscaria. Brunner’s interest in photography found its natural expression through the representation of Alpine landscapes, which he knew much about and was able to interpret with great poetry.
Calcutta 1815 – Ceylon 1879)
Julia Margaret Cameron devoted herself to photography late in life, portraying her many friends. She was surrounding by a lively cultural milieu: her neighbors included some of the most illustrious figures of the age, especially pre-Raphaelite painters, who especially inspired Julia for her works. Her photographs are mostly costume portraits, tableaux vivants where family members and friends interpret episodes from literature. From this point of view, Cameron was an emblematic protagonist of the painting movement. But what makes her work so unique is her constant search for the poetic aura of the people portrayed by overturning the technical rules and using evanescent and out-of-focus effects.
(Padua 1813 – Rome 1865)
Caneva began his career in the field of figurative arts as a perspective painter and was interested in architecture and aeronautics. In 1838, he moved to Rome and, in the late 1840s, learned photography techniques and in particular the daguerreotype and the calotype. In 1847, he made a calotype, dated and signed, of Piazza Bocca della Verità which is considered the oldest calotype image taken by a photographer living in the city. In the 1850s, Caneva became part of the Circolo Fotografico Romano, established by the painter and photographer Frédéric Flachéron with the intention of spreading new photography techniques and portraying the most famous sites in the city, but his practice also included views of the Roman countryside and traditional customs, as well as art reproductions.
(Alessandria 1892 – Milan 1940)
Castagneri entered the art world while studying at the Fine Arts Academy in Turin. Ever since he was a child, he worked as an assistant in various photo studios, until, in 1915, he opened his own portrait studio on Corso Garibaldi in Milan. His involvement with the art world in Lombardy allowed him to meet late “Scapigliatura” artists and, afterwards, futurists. In this phase of his career, Castagneri befriended Marinetti and Depero, of whom he took many portraits that today are famous. He also tried his hand with avant-garde techniques, like photomontage and overlapping. His career reached its peak in the 1920s. Castagneri became the official photographer of La Scala theatre in Milan. In 1929, he definitively left photography to passionately devote himself to restoring ancient paintings.
(Lucera 1904 – Senigallia 1961)
A lawyer, man of letters, main commentator of Benedetto Croce, admirer of music and gastronomy, occasional auto racer, Cavalli represents a key figure on the Italian cultural scene at the time. In the history of photography he is remembered as the founder of two important groups: “La Bussola,” begun in 1947, and “Misa” in Senigallia, established in 1953. Cavalli’s work is characterized by a personal idea of poetics, both lyrical and categorical at the same time, according to which the subject portrayed counts very little, while the composition and grays and whites are of great importance. His merit is having inaugurated a new national debate on photography, necessary in the difficult time of reconstruction, following the years of Fascism and the war.
(Paris 1845 – Rome 1919)
Of French origins, he began his career in Palermo around 1860. He opened the Photographie parisienne and made an album of views and art reproductions, Grande collezione di vedute e monumenti con descrizione in italiano e francese. In 1870, he was in Naples and in 1871, he moved to Rome, which became the capital of Italy, documenting the Papal city and the transformations from the late 1800s due to its new status as capital. In Rome, Chauffourier moved to 509 Via del Corso, the former atelier of the photographer Simelli. Chauffourier’s limited production, of monuments, views, works of art in various cities across Italy, was never published in a printed catalogue. The negatives were later numbered by his son Pietro.
(Nice 1883 – Paris1936)
He trained in Paris as an engineer, graduating from the École Centrale Polytechnique. He soon became interested in the autochrome technique fine-tuned by the Lumière brothers. Starting in 1907, the year this new technique was first put on the market, Chouanard made his first clichés, while on a trip to Morocco. Chouanard’s autochromes are the first photo documentation of Morocco, even before those from 1911 kept in the Fondation Albert Kahn in Boulogne. Chouanard’s work covers all the years in which this technique was used and is important for stylistic coherence. Alinari houses in its own archives these autochromes, which portray not only views of Maghreb from the early twentieth century but also images of rare beauty of many European countries.
(Wales 1820 circa – Madrid 1863)
A photographer from England, he moved to Madrid in 1852, after taking his first trip to Spain the year before. Thanks to a photo portrait of Queen Isabella, Clifford became well known and got support from the Spanish court. But in Spain, in addition to portraiture, he also took numerous photos of the landscape and monuments, allowing all of Europe to discover the reality of a country that up to then had been practically inaccessible. In the following years, his works had great success in Great Britain as well. In fact, Queen Victoria, in 1861, decided to buy some works for the Windsor collection and commissioned Clifford with her own portrait.
Interested in art since he was a child, Comerio learned the basics of photography in the studio of the painter-photographer Belisario Croci. He then opened in own studio in 1894. His first work, a portrait taken secretly of King Umberto I during his trip to Como, bears the mark of his future work, aimed at documenting current events and pioneering photojournalism. Motivated by his own interest in spreading information through photography, Comerio also became a filmmaker. After becoming the photographer of the Royal House, he expanded his filmmaking career with very complex projects at a great cost. When the war ended, the dire financial situation forced him to end his film career, and after 1920 he also stopped taking photographs.
With a degree in chemistry, ever since he was a child, Corinaldi was passionate about photography. He took many trips to Italy, France, England, Greece, Spain, and Israel, in an attempt to immortalize the most evocative and poetical locations. However, he devoted most of his career to Venice, exploring through lighting, framing, and technique a fascinating and difficult topic. Corinaldi’s style followed an ideal of beauty and harmony during years of great photographic activity in Italy both ideologically and socially, with constant reference to world photojournalism. However, Corinaldi chose poetic documentation: his lens was focused on the faces of ordinary people, lingering upon the moods of places and thus accepting the challenge of banality and everydayness.
Active in Messina and Taormina starting in 1885, he is known above all for introducing Wilhelm von Gloeden to photography. From 1901 to 1910, Crupi worked in Egypt, at Heliopolis, while his studio in Taormina continued thanks to his grandson Francesco Galifi. The views by Crupi at the archeological sites in Taormina, Siracusa, and Agrigento reveal great poetics and considerable quality.
Active in Turin starting in the early 1900s, he enthusiastically took part in the photography scene there and had a good reputation. In fact, in 1909, the magazine La Fotografia Artistica published two pictures of his. Dall’Armi’s work stands out for the variety of his images: from academic portraiture to art and architecture reproductions and social reportage, like the series of photos on the Fabbrica Italiana Proiettili, taken in 1920. It’s no coincidence that the critic Italo Mario Angeloni, in referring to Dall’Armi’s photos at the First International Exposition of Photography and Cinema held in 1923, called them “a very varied material.” His work continued until 1951, under the management of his wife, Giovanna Andrate.
(active between 1860 circa and 1890 circa)
Of French origins, Degoix was active in Genoa starting in 1860 circa, during the years when in cities in Liguria photography studios flourished, like the ones by Giovanni Battista Sciutto and Alfred Noack. Degoix, who for a certain time had his atelier on Via Nuovissima 7, together with Hodcend, devoted himself above all to landscape photography and panoramic views. In 1875, he became the official photographer of the Museo di Storia Naturale in Genoa at the Villetta di Negro, creating a catalogue of entomological photographs portraying nature, plants, and animals which is still used today.
Even though he began his career in 1848, Disderi reached notoriety only after opening his atelier on Boulevard des Italiens, in Paris, which led him to rival even the very famous Nadar. The reason for Disderi’s success is without a doubt his greatest invention: the carte de visite photograph, which he patented in 1854. In order to obtain these small portraits (circa 10 x 6 cm), Disderi made the first negative on a wet plate, using a special device with four lenses and sliding plate holder, from which one obtains eight images in different poses. In short, however, the growing popularity of the carte de visite, practiced by photographers across the world, made Disderi a victim of his own invention. In fact, in 1877, he handed over his studio and archive to his Parisian colleagues Pougnet and Délié.
(Canzo 1807 – Milan 1870)
A versatile optician and scientist, he became interested in photography at an early age, at the time practiced through daguerreotype, of which he intuited its yet unexplored potentials. In November 1839, Duroni was the first to import Daguerre’s device to Milan and create the first views of the city in daguerreotype. Subsequently, he expanded his own business, adding a photo studio to his optician practice, equipped with a special room for portraits, which became his specialty. His refined portraits made him famous, and his atelier was a meeting place for men of letters, artists, and politicians. In the 1860s, his scientific interests led him to try his hand with portraits on salted paper and albumen. Finally, in 1866, he definitively handed his atelier over to Icilio Calzolari.
(L’Aquila 1818–Rome 1893)
Known for introducing the wet collodion technique to Rome, D’Alessandri opened his own atelier in 1856, teaming up with his brother Paolo. The D’Alessandri brothers studio stood out above all with Rome’s aristocrats, members of the papacy as well as the Bourbon court, which moved to Rome in 1862 after the siege of Gaeta. Antonio is without a doubt the more famous brother: he became the “Pope’s photographer” and took numerous portraits of Pope Pius IX. As a member since 1864 of the Societé Francaise de Photographie, he was praised and admired by his friend Nadar.
Eccher took interest in photography thanks to his great passion for mountains, one of his preferred subjects along with art photography. In fact, he chose many evocative works, mostly by divisionist and futurist painters, documenting an important moment in the history of Italian art. In the 1980s, he began working with the Province of Trento on cataloging the historic-artistic heritage of Trentino. Afterwards, he was the protagonist, with his climbing friend Cesare Maestri, of a feat that went down in the history of the Dolomites of Brenta: during a climb, on July 10, 1954, he risked his own life by slipping and being suspended in mid-air. With immense courage, Eccher asked his friend who was holding him to run to safety and cut the rope, which got snagged and ultimately saved his life. Among the many Alpine feats, mention must be made of his participation in the first expedition from Trentino to Patagonia, between 1957 and 1958.
(La Palma, Cuba, 1856 – Falmouth 1936)
Emerson studied many things but finally became interested in medicine. However, he soon abandoned this to passionately devote himself to photography, beginning in 1882. His contribution was, above all, theoretical: with his romantic images he proposed a seemingly unbiased photography, at least as far as crispness is concerned. He wrote a variety of essays in support of “blurriness” as a realistic image, and asked photographers for more attention to the landscape, “natural” lighting, to immortalize without manipulation, using only the expressive possibilities typical of the new medium. From this point of view, photography once again embraces Renaissance expectation, and the unitary impression prevails over the “spectacularization” of details.
(active between the 1920s and the 1980s)
Ferruzzi was founded in Venice, with headquarters in Calle Tagliapietre, around the 1920s, with its golden age between the 1950s and 1960s. The company closed between 1975 and 1980. Ferruzzi photographs document over fifty years of city life and history through pictures of news reports, cultural events (art exhibitions, parties), popular professions, production and industrial activities (for example the Manifattura Tabacchi of Venice and the Marghera foundries), aerial views. In addition to Venice, the city he portrayed the most, he also took pictures of nearby towns. Ferruzzi photographs stand out for their crispness and charm in capturing moments of city life, events, and figures.
(Lyon 1813 – Paris 1883)
After arriving in Rome in 1839, following his studies in medal sculpting at the Royal School of Fine Arts in Paris, he consolidated his bond with the French art scene around Villa Medici and, above all, with the painter Ingres. His first photos date to 1848: Flachéron devoted himself to this genre for five years, creating a series of photo prints that bear witness to his interest in monumental and archeological views. His prints stand out for the extraordinary wealth and brightness of tones, praised by his peers during the many exhibitions in which he took part.
Gabinio began his career as an amateur photographer in the 1890s, mostly devoting himself to mountain photography. During the first decades of his career he turned to town life in the valleys outside Turin as well as the first signs of industrialization and large-scale emergencies. In the 1920s he took some of his most famous pictures: photos that thoroughly document the city of Turin and fully express his technical abilities and artistic sensibility. Gabinio followed the changes in Turin at each stage, marking through his pictures the crucial transition from 19th-century photography culture to new modern views. His photos are charming and rigorous, with light relations among the almost immaterial surfaces and clear-cut marks, which well represent figurative and artistic invention.
Strictly tied to the pre-Raphaelite circle, Graham took various photographs to create some paintings. Graham’s images, dedicated to illustrating the Sacred Scriptures, were presented with great success in 1859 in Paris for the Exposition of Fine Arts at the Palais de l'Industrie, and on the pages of La Lumière, for their ability to express the sacredness of the places portrayed. The prints relating to his trips across Italy, which he took after returning from the Middle East, are found in an album dated 1864 and contain 119 photographs. In all likelihood, Graham took various trips to Italy. In fact, the album also contains images taken at different times, even years apart, thus showing his liking for trips across the Mediterranean and, at the same time, his late use of paper negatives.
(Munich 1821 – Florence 1862)
Hautmann trained as a painter at the Fine Arts Academy in Munich. He then went to Italy in 1874 where he stayed in Rome until 1849, thereafter moving to Florence at Raffaello Metzger’s, a painter, engraver, and collector. Initially interested in sculpture, in 1851 Hautmann opened his own studio on Via della Scala 4367 which, in 1858, became the headquarters of the Stabilimento Fotografico A. Hautmann. Hautmann mainly took views and instant shots of city spaces in stereoscope and is considered a pioneer of this photography technique in Italy. Hautmann’s output is also known for his cartes de visite and painting studies characterized by rocky landscapes, sketches of clouds, rural settings, and domestic scenes that illustrate his investigations of light and shadow that create clear contrasts of dark and light, full and empty spaces.
(active from 1843 circa to 1848 circa)
Among the greatest interpreters of the calotype are David Octavius Hill (Perth 1802 – Newington 1870) and the photographer/chemist Robert Adamson (Burnside 1821 – St. Andrew 1848), both from Edinburgh. Their collaboration began in 1843, when Hill was asked by the Free Church of Scotland to create an enormous picture that had to represent the portrait of the 470 people who had abandoned the Scottish Church. In order to execute this large commission, the camera seemed like the equipment best suited for the task. From that moment on, portraiture took the upper hand in their career. Each person portrayed by Hill and Adamson is shown in extremely natural poses. They look neither for detail nor perfection in detail, which is the main concern of the daguerreotype, but instead the effect that only paper negatives can give: a suggestion of chiaroscuro, a game of light and shadow, closer to drawing and painting.
(active between the second half of the 1800s and the early 1900s)
A painter and photographer of English origin, at a certain point of his life he decided to move to Italy, where he passionately took up photography and documenting field work, uses, customs, and traditions of peasants and farmers in Caserta and Scanno. Scanno, located in Abruzzo, was the subject of an important reportage of his. In fact, subsequently, this place would become a sort of must-see for photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Mario Giacomelli. Howells also visited Sardinia in 1903, taking some photo “notes” of this place. In all likelihood, Howells used his photographs as an image source for his paintings, which was something quite common among artists in the late century, like, for example Francesco Paolo Michetti.
He was one of the first professional photographers from Sicily, beginning in 1859. His career started thanks to his encounter with freelance French photographers in Palermo during the 1850s. His first work is mostly comprised of portraits, including the one of Garibaldi, executed in June 1860, which earned him great fame. At an advanced stage of his career, Incorpora began portraying Palermo and Sicily, in general. He became one of the key players of Sicily’s grand tradition of views and auteur photography. In the early 1880s, he was joined by his son Francesco who, together with his brothers Salvatore and Giovanni, continued the business, calling it the “Real Fotografia Cav. Giuseppe Incorpora.”
Interguglielmi began his career around 1863, first learning from the Incorpora family and then from his uncle Bugliarelli. Since the early 1860s, he was specialized in portraiture, and became well-known around 1880 for the series of Sicilian costumes which earned him a gold medal at the Esposizione Industriale Italiana in Milan in 1881. Interguglielmi’s photographs aptly portray the Palermo of yesterday, the preferred destination in Sicily of aristocrats and tourists from across Europe. In the early 20th century, Interguglielmi moved his studio to Via Cavour, and after his death the business was carried on by his children and grandchildren until 1970: in 1909, his son Eugenio Interguglielmi, Jr. also practiced portraiture and landscape views, published in the most well-known magazines of the time.
(Veranda 1804 – Bath 1877)
Reverend Jones was one of the first photographers to adopt the photo process invented by William Henry Fox Talbot, which he used considerably during his numerous trips in Europe and the Mediterranean. He is unquestionably a master of early photography, and was greatly enthusiastic about the potential of the new medium. In 1845, he left with Kit Talbot for a photo tour of Malta where, in 1846, he was joined by his photographer friend George Wilson Bridge. The group visited Italy, from Sicily heading to Naples, Rome, Florence, Bologna, and Milan. The corpus of his work includes seascapes and portraits of men and women while working or in their free time as well as documents of his own travels.
(Milan 1914 – Rome 2005)
With a degree in architecture, as a young man he fell in love with scriptwriting and cinema. In fact, he is remembered for being one of Italy’s most important filmmakers. In the 1930s, before entering cinema, he was devoted to photography, and starting in 1937 he photographed the streets of Milan, from the city center to the outskirts, using his own “Rollei” camera with 6 x 6 film. These images are poetically realistic and foreshadow his neorealist cinema as opposed to the widespread positivist iconography endorsed by the Fascist regime. Twenty-six of these photographs were published in Occhio Quadrato. Lattuada’s photography work continued, in Occhio Quadrato, until 1948, with pictures aimed at documenting the preparation of his films but also, at the same time, have their own dignity as photographs.
(Nevers 1816 – Madrid 1892)
In 1843, Laurent moved to Madrid, where he remained until his death. In 1856, he opened a photo gallery in Carrera de San Jeronimo, that is, in the same place where Clifford’s already famous studio was found. He became above all interested in portraits of illustrious people as well as views of charming Spanish towns, with particular attention to the architecture, portrayed in detail. He quickly befriended the Spanish monarchy, and was soon thereafter appointed “Photographer of Her Majesty the Queen.” In 1858, he was asked to photograph the building of the railway line from Madrid to Alicante, inaugurated in 1867; he also took a series of photographs on the public works of the World Expo in Paris in 1867. At that time he also transformed his picture gallery into the most important photo shop in the 1800s present in Spain.
(Oneglia 1892 – Venice 1968)
Born into an ancient family from Tirolo, in 1914 in Milan he graduated in Agrarian Sciences and began working as a chemist. He started taking pictures at a very young age, experimenting various techniques like bromoil and gum bichromate. In 1920, he chose to try more modern photography techniques. In 1930, he was one of the founding members of the Circolo Fotografico Milanese and in 1947, he was among the “La Bussola” group, one of the most prestigious collectives of photo enthusiasts in Italy after the war. A versatile figure, Leiss photographed still lifes, portraits, and landscapes. He was above all fascinated by the night views of a dreamy, fairly-tale-like Venice. If we leave aside some photos that explore composition, his work was above all devoted to Venice: in 1953, a vast collection of his work was published in the book Immagini di Venezia.
A professional optician, Lerebours became interested in the daguerreotype; in fact, his studio quickly turned into a fine-turning center of this technique. He took wonderful views of the Seine, kept at the Museo Carnevalet. In France, between 1840 and 1843, the optician, who by now had become a full-fledged photographer and publisher, promoted the publication of a series of 111 engravings, based on daguerreotypes taken by various photographers, including himself, in Europe, the Middle East, and America, gathered in the work Excursions daguerriennes, représentant les vues et les monuments anciens et modernes les plus remarquables du globe.
(Fraibergsdorf 1809 – Munich 1890)
After studying to become a painter in Dresden, in 1830 he moved to Munich, where together with his brother-in-law Franz Hanfstaengl he trained as a photographer under the supervision of the Bavarian Alois Löcherer. In 1857, he was working in Verona, where he owned one of the most important photo businesses of the city. He also took portraits and art reproductions as well as a series of entomological photographs for the naturalist scientist Abramo Massalongo, collected in 1859 in a photo essay on some materials and fossil plants in the Agro Veronese. Mention must also be made of the splendid views of the city of Verona and its surroundings, like the Vues photographiques du Tyrol Meridional which earned him a bronze medal at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1867, as well as an important documentation on the military architecture of the Austrian fortifications in Peschiera, Pastrengo, Rivoli, and Verona. When Lotze returned to Germany in 1868 his business was continued by his sons Emil and Richard and their archive was later bought by Domenico Anderson.
(Edinburgh 1811 – Rome 1872)
After studying medicine in Edinburgh, he moved to Rome in 1840, for health reasons. Upon his arrival there as a painter, he soon began taking an interest in photography. He used large-format negatives and his pictures stand out for their long exposure time so as to portray in detail the Roman architecture and sculpture, the ruins, and the landscape. His talent was even greater than that of his fellow countryman James Anderson. In 1851, he began selling views of monuments and landscapes to tourists on the Grand Tour, and reproduced the images with a lithograph process on stone and metal, which he invented and officially patented. In 1863, he took over 300 plates of the sculptures in the Vatican Museums which he published in an album, obtaining great commercial success.
He devoted his entire life to studying the condition of humans and the encounter of cultures across the globe. He went on his first expeditions in Tibet following Giuseppe Tucci, in 1937 and 1948, an experience that would later give rise to the publication Segreto Tibet (1951). Starting in 1939 he moved to Japan where he remained until 1946, though he returned there on various occasions, even for long periods, and became one of the most authoritative scholars of Japanese culture. Some of his most significant works are dedicated to Japan: Ore Giapponesi (1957) and Japan. Patterns of continuity (1971). A vast and important selection of his photographs was presented in the exhibition and relating catalogue Il Miramondo (1999). His Biblioteca Orientale and photo archive are found in the Gabinetto Vieusseux in Florence.
He was one of the first photographers active in Livorno, where he used the daguerreotype starting in 1843 at the Stabilimento Fotografico Marzocchini, the first opened in the city on Via Ferdinanda 78. Together with his son Riccardo, he took part in the Esposizione Italiana in 1861 in Florence, presenting a series of portraits using the most acclaimed techniques of the age from a commercial point of view, from the stereoscope to the “false cameo.” When his father passed away, Riccardo moved the studio to Via Vittorio Emanuele 8 which became one of the most active in Livorno, dedicated not only to portraiture but also to views. In fact, in 1874 he published the Album Livornese, a collection of 204 panoramas of the city accompanied by brief historical notes.
(Oldham 1813 – Southwick 1901)
One of the greatest enthusiasts of the daguerreotype working in London, he learned the art of photography in Philadelphia, and brought back with him considerable experience and such a sophisticated quality of images on silver plates that he became known as the “American daguerreotypist,” an adjective based on the crisp, bright images and the format which characterized that kind of work in the US. The choice of pose was typical of his portraits, composed according to aesthetic criteria based on 18th-century painting, which followed a pyramid-like structure. The lighting adds to this extraordinary result by playing a key role in defining the levels and establishing the chiaroscuro.
(Tocco Casauria 1851 – Francavilla a Mare 1929)
Michetti’s style as a painter mainly developed in Naples, and more precisely initially in the school of Domenico Morelli and subsequently the realism of Filippo Palizzi.
In the beginning, for Michetti photography was a mere support to art but, by practicing and the excellent results he obtained, he quickly realized its potential. Thanks to his innate curiosity he learned to use the most widespread techniques of development and printing, collecting over the years an impressive amount of pictures. From very lovely portraits of women from Abruzzo, Michetti then passed to genres of all kinds, like for example, images of pilgrimages, processions, tuna fishing at Acireale, and even photos on details of nature: water, leaves, flowers, roots, weeds, and other things that struck his imagination as they suddenly revealed themselves as independent visual entities.
He became interested in photography thanks to his father, who in Livorno ran his own studio, without following a too-provincial and conventional approach. Intended to have a military career, he soon became a photographer for the Army and took part in many war campaigns, creating documentaries on various fronts until 1943.
Having trained in art at the academy, he took retro-style portraits, but his fame is above all related to pictures of Livorno, of its people and its Naval Academy. His most beautiful and artistic photos are those that portray the naval school Amerigo Vespucci: his suggestive glimpses and details heighten the light and shadow. Miniati is able to grasp, as a proper inhabitant from Livorno, that deep bond uniting man to the sea.
With a degree in architecture in 1931, his brilliance quickly stood out. His relationship with photography, which soon became his preferred means of expression, was long and passionate. His pictures often portray famous female nudes, where women are never isolated but included in very precise contexts. In the 1930s, he started photographing still lifes and, subsequently, he wrote the first theoretical treatise on photography aesthetics, Il Messaggio dalla camera oscura (1949). This precious text outlines the guidelines of his photo language, in particular his concept of “transfiguring artwork,” that is, the idea that the object represented never has to be the same as the one to portray. Mollino makes multiple, illustrative, creative, and instrumental use of photography, practicing with an enormous variety of subjects. He goes beyond modernism by forerunning post-modernism: he bypassed neorealism by giving greater importance to ad and fashion photography, characterized by restless, ambiguous, and allusive images.
(active from 1856 circa to 1877 circa)
Montabone’s career began in Turin around 1860, and had immediate success under the name “Fotografia Reale,” as can be seen by the numerous portraits of illustrious people from the Savoy court from that time. He was one of the first photographers to introduce, in Italy, the carte de visite format, and in 1860, he became a member of the Societé Française de Photographie. But he truly and unquestionably earned his reputation with the first Italian Mission to Persia in 1862 where he was asked to take part as the official photographer. This trip gave rise to a series of photos, views, and portraits of the kingdom’s sovereigns and high dignitaries, earning him great notoriety. After 1870 other headquarters of the Fotografia Reale were present in Milan, Florence, Rome, and the work of these businesses would be carried forth after his death in 1877 by some heirs.
(active from 1899 circa to 1933 circa)
An amateur photographer who documented, with passion and livelihood for instant shots, Italy’s aristocracy from the late 19th century, he was keenly curious in art but also in the country’s social and economic life. In fact, his “photo notes” could be called handy sketches of impressionist realism. His archive, which boasts 6,500 negatives on small-format plates, 1,200 negatives on film, and circa 1,100 diapositives on glass in black and white, is now part of the Alinari Archives. His detailed notes that accompany the materials allow us to date the pictures between 1899 and 1933.
(Spalato 1886 – Rome 1971)
Of Jewish origins, he spent his childhood in Spalato and studied in Venice, where he earned a degree in economics in 1907. During the early years of World War I, he definitively moved to Italy to escape the Austrian regime and at this time he made use of his experience photographing during university. He began documenting the folklore of Lazio and Abruzzo, perfecting the bromoil and gum bichromate techniques. In 1919, he opened the Società Tipografica Grafia S.E.D.A., which in 1924 became I.F.I. (Istituto Fotografico Italiano), and took part in various publishing projects with his photo campaigns. In fact, one year later he opened his own publishing house, Luciano Morpurgo. Some of his most important exhibitions include one on Palestine and Jordan from 1927, as well as other trips to Dalmatia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania.
(Kingston upon Thames 1830–1904)
A British photographer, as early as 1850 he visited the United States, and quickly became interested in the daguerreotype through his friend Silas Selleck, with whom he established the Cosmopolitan Gallery of Photography Art. Afterwards he devoted his time above all to animal movement, using the chronophotography and thus becoming a pioneer in motion photography. In fact, thanks to The Horse in Motion, a famous photo sequence that illustrates the various stages of a galloping horse, thanks to 24 cameras positioned along its itinerary and activated by a string as the horse rode passed, Muybridge demonstrated his hypothesis according to which at a precise moment all of the horse’s four legs were raised off the ground. Muybridge continued his experiments with great success, which he divulged in Paris in 1886. The instrument project like the zoopraxiscope and his very famous album Animal locomotion (1887) would contribute to developing filming methods and, therefore, the birth of cinema.
Nadar is not just one of the most celebrated photographers of all time but also one of the most interesting and versatile figures of the 19th century. Nadar’s adventures are many and all extraordinary: passionate about hot-air balloons, he built Le Géant, an enormous hot-air balloon that inspired the novels and characters of his writer friend Jules Verne. In 1859, he took the first aerial shots ever. Two years later, he photographed with artificial lighting, from lamps fueled with Bunsen batteries, the catacombs and sewers of Paris. In 1870, during the Prussian siege of Paris, he organized hot-air balloons that broke enemy lines. In 1874, he held the first exhibition of impressionist painters, with whom he was in close contact. His portraits stand out for their ability to grasp the psychological qualities of the sitters, normally photographed in three-quarter poses, thanks to their nonchalance and skilled use of light and shadow.
(Vercelli 1816 – Venice 1882)
After a degree in law he moved to Venice around 1857 and opened his celebrated photo business. At first he was financially supported by the shop of Carlo Ponti, with whom he published the album Vedute di Venezia (1866). The success of his company, specialized in art reproductions and views, was immediate: in 1864, he was invited to take survey photo campaigns before the restoration of Giotto’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. After breaking away from Ponti, in 1868 Naya opened his own atelier in Piazza San Marco. When he died, his wife, Ida Lessiak, took over the business and entrusted management to Naya’s collaborator, Tommaso Filippi. Thanks to him the company published, in 1887, Isole della laguna di Venezia, an album of views enlivened by genre scenes.
(Genoa 1833 – Dresden 1896)
Alfred Noack worked in Genoa from 1860 to 1896, and took many photographs in Liguria, specialized mainly in views. When he died, his archive was bought by other photographers including Carlo Paganini who reprinted Noack’s negatives while signing them as his own. The considerable work that has survived, gathered over many years of activity, bears witness to his great technical experience. In fact, Alfred Noack is considered, as Piero Becchetti sustains, one of Northern Italy’s best photographers.
Born into a well-to-do Florentine family, he became interested in photography while befriending many photographers. Starting in 1885 he devoted himself to photography on a regular basis, at first using small-format plates and photographing the countryside, his friends, farmers, seaside trips, and typical aspects of life in Florence. In the early 1900s he began taking portraits, always trying to understand and interpret his sitters psychologically. Praised by his peers and celebrities, who spent words of admiration and esteem on him, he portrayed, in pictures full of soft lighting, figures from art and culture in Italy, but also simple middle-class people, and became one of the greatest amateur portraitists of his time.
(Venice 1842 – St. Moritz 1911)
He was not personally a photographer but he contributed, as a publisher, in a fundamental way to the advancement of the heliotype process in reproducing images. He began his career at a Venetian bookshop with the Münster brothers, then purchasing it when he was only 19 years old, in 1861. From that moment on, his publishing activity grew thanks to the facsimile reproductions of illustrated books from the 1500s and 1600s. During 1877–1887 he became interested in the monumental decorations of the Basilica di San Marco in Venice, with 425 heliograph and chromolithograph plates, based on the photographs of Carlo Jacobi and Oreste Bertani. The catalogue of illustrated works published by Ongania includes over 50 titles, all illustrated with the heliotype technique, which at the time of his death would be surpassed by half-tone processes.
Giulio Parisio enrolled in military aviation and carried out photo survey flights over Dalmatia. After the war he worked as a reporter and then opened his atelier in Naples where he mostly took portraits. Especially interested in ethnographic photography, he traveled extensively throughout the south and Sicily. He took pictures of landscapes, scenes of farm and factory work as well as fishing along the shores of Calabria. He took part in numerous national and international exhibitions. In 1926, he opened an art gallery that served as a reference point for avant-garde painters. He met Carlo Cocchia who introduced him to Marinetti in 1928, when the futurist group was formed. He later took part in all the exhibitions of futurist photography in the early 1930s. He experimented with optic distortion, photomontage, solarization, and paper figure staging.
(active between the 1920s and the 1950s)
Fernando Pasta worked in Milan between the 1920s and the 1950s. In the Guida di Milano from 1939–1940, published by Savallo, Pasta appears in the “professional photographers” column. In the 1960s, his archive was purchased by the photographer Pietro Donzelli.
(Coassolo Torinese 1882 – Turin 1962)
A magistrate by profession and a passionate photo amateur, he adopted obsolete techniques, like bromoil and fat inks, and bore witness to the photography scene in the 1920s where painting solutions were adopted to avoid more commercialized photography. During the 1930s he took part in national and international salons on a regular basis. His pictures, which were well-known, were published in catalogues, annuals, books, and sector magazines. A theorist of photography aesthetics, he also edited numerous essays on the topic as well as booklets and legal writings on cinema and photography.
A Neapolitan photographer and archeologist who moved to Persia in 1848, Pesce became head of the infantry to the Shah and was a founder of the Polytechnic of Tehran, where he started teaching to Persian officials the basics of photography. He was specialized in photographing the historical ruins of those places. He was the first to photograph those areas, and his role as a pioneer, after returning to Europe in 1860, earned him great success. In March 1861, he wrote to Cavour, asking him to return to Italy and specifying he had made an album of the most interesting monuments in Persia never seen before.
(Maidstone, Kent, 1812 – Florence 1878)
He represents a key player in the history of photography in Tuscany, and above all in Florence. Starting in the 1850s he worked in the city of the Grand Duke with the calotype, and then continued with a more commercial output of art reproductions and views made on colloid plates.
Overall, the negatives document a 360-degree artistic personality, for their technical quality and his compositional research. Along with his well-known series of views of Florence, from sculpted monuments to the main churches, with particular attention to portraying the Arno, its bridges and banks, there are also shots of famous tourist sites in the 1800s like Bagni di Lucca, the preferred destination for the English in Tuscany.
A French archeologist and photographer, Piot was the first to use photography as a means of reproduction for large-scale documentary campaigns on architecture, archeology, and works of art. He treated photographs as if they were lithographs, mounted on cardboard with the a printed title and the writing “Piot fecit et excudit,” each on fine Chinese paper: quite delicate though it makes the photograph tones seem like ink and the small format makes these shots more precious. Piot personally made, in 1850, the photos dedicated to Tuscan monuments, and many others during his numerous trips to Italy, especially to the South, where he immortalized the Greek temples, taking pictures of great charm for the primitive quality of the tones and the compositional rigor.
(Gemona del Friuli 1920 – Milan 1997)
Born in Friuli at Gemona he grew up in Venice and got a degree in Padua. He was a top manager for an industry belonging to a multinational in Argentina, in Switzerland, and later in Italy. Fascinated by the nature surrounding him, he soon became interested in photography, an activity he followed passionately. His first Leica IIIF was followed by other Leicas and Hasselblads, bought mainly as a collector but then used for convenience. His pictures were displayed at various solo exhibitions in Milan, Trieste, Bergamo, or collected in volumes, including Filiberto Pittini (1987), published by Electa. His photos are always in black and white and his constant investigations are on the essentiality suggested by the line, shadows, and symmetry that transcends mere description.
(Sagno 1821 – Venice 1893)
An optician of Swiss origins, he trained during a stay of eight years in Paris, then moving to Venice in the early 1850s. Here he was engaged in the flourishing photography scene, opening a store with optician instruments and also selling photos. In 1854, he was honored at the Esposizione di Agricoltura e Industria for his “photography instruments,” and that same year he published the first catalogue of 160 views of Venice, thanks to the contribution of photographers like Perini and Bresolin. In 1862, he also won the international Exposition in London where he presented the Megalethoscope, a visor for large-format photos with spectacular effects.
(active from the early 1900s to the 1980s)
The Pozzar photo studio was founded in Trieste in the early 1900s and was specialized in industrial and architectural photography. Around the 1950s, Ruggero (Geri) Pozzar, born in 1939, worked with his father but took a different direction: he created famous portraits of intellectuals (painters, writers, actors), at times unusual and awkward, and a series of nude pictures. Thanks to the young Pozzar’s photos traditional Trieste meets anti-conformism and transgression.
(Ferrara 1930 - Rome 2018)
A great Italian documentarian, in 1951 he graduated from the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia and one year later he began work for the film Sesto Continente, full of underwater images shot in the Austral seas. Subsequently, he made successful feature films, including the documentary Toscana (1971) which earned him an Oscar nomination. Alongside his activity in documentary films, he was also a professional journalist and essay writer, with investigations and special reportages on the environment. In addition to cinema and writing, beginning in 1949 he constantly practiced photography, assembling an archive of over one million images in color and black and white during his many trips and adventures, taken in every corner of the planet to document his interests in nature, culture, and anthropology.
A versatile figure, mountaineer, mountain writer, and art photographer, Guido Rey attended the Fine Arts Academy and his relationship with the Sella family (his grandfather was Quintino, Minister of the Kingdom and founder of the Club Alpino Italiano) and Vittorio, an exceptional mountain photographer, likened him for his passion for nature and excursions and the art of photography. At first he was interested in mountain photography, but his taste in art and fashion that was flourishing in Europe in the late 1800s led him to photograph paintings. Rey preferred images with references to Dutch painting from the 1600s, full of intimacy and domestic scenes. A gold medal winner at the Esposizione Nazionale in Turin in 1898, in 1908 he was also the only Italian photographer to be published in the prestigious American magazine Camera Work with two of his photos.
(active between the 1860s and the 1890s)
Probably of French origins, he was active in Naples starting in the early 1860s as a view painter and portraitist of romantic taste. He went on many photo campaigns not only in Naples, but also in Italy’s key cities like Florence, Pisa, Rome, Venice, Genoa, and above all Sicily. He took part in the World’s Fair in Paris in 1867 with his patent for the photosensitive paper he invented.
Roesler, well-known for the series of watercolors at the Museo di Roma titled Roma pittoresca o Roma sparita, during the 1880s–1890s he photographically analyzed papal Rome, which the new role as the capital of the kingdom was literally demolishing day after day. In the labyrinthine alleys of the medieval city, with sudden baroque and Renaissance perspectives, the photographer seems attracted above all to the presence of people and city life that was explored in the sad, picturesque reality of everyday existence. He also documented the less evident and less common city life of Rome, the one far from lavishness and magnificence.
He studied engineering at the Politecnico di Milano and worked here until he retired. He had the mindset and passion of a scholar, and his interests focused on the history and civilization of the Near East, after exploring music, literature, and theology. In the 1950s, he discovered travel photography and developed a growing interest for black and white photography, studying its effects with his loyal Rollei-Flex.
In 1864, he graduated in medicine from the University of Pisa, while also studying chemistry and hygiene as well as minerology, botany, and photography. In each of these fields he was active in research, in particular in the field of photography, considered above all in relation to its multiple scientific applications. Roster thus became a great experimenter, ranging from micrographs, created with an instrument he had invented for cytology, anatomy, and entomology studies, to telephotos, made with a lens which he had adapted, necessary for representing objects at varying distances, up to solar devices. He left behind an extraordinary and rare repertoire of scientific and encyclopedic images, illustrative of his 19th-century personality and culture.
During a trip to Jerusalem in 1854, Salzmann took 164 images later published, in 1856, in the album Jérusalem: études et reproductions photographique des monuments de la Ville sainte, depuis l’époque judaique jusqu’à nos jours, one of the greatest works of illustrated archeology issued in the 1800s. His photos often present such a balance that they seem like abstract geometry, a painting where the archeological detail becomes, in turn, a decorative element for a new aesthetic perspective. In this sense, Salzmann may be considered one of the most significant photographers of the calotype period. The “camera obscura” became an integral part of his research, thus allowing him to create pictures quite unlike the celebratory documentation of historical monuments taken during trips by photographers like Du Camp.
(studio active in the 1880s)
Pascal Sebah, a photographer from the east with a studio in Istanbul, on Via Postacilar in the neighborhood of Pera, was awarded at the World’s Fairs of Paris, Vienna, and Philadelphia. Success led him to open another studio in Cairo in 1873. In 1884, he teamed up with the photographer Policarpe Joaillier, who was also in Istanbul, and their two names became the name of the their atelier, active until 1888. His successors, Iskender and Perpanyani, kept the name to maintain the company’s notoriety.
A mountaineer from the well-known Sella family, Vittorio was a photographer on numerous expeditions, especially to Alaska, gathering a precious corpus of geographical, sociological, and anthropological pictures. In fact, when Sella died, the American photographer Ansel Adams dedicated a memorable essay to him, in which he underlined “the vast subject matter of the purity of his interpretations is able to move anyone who looks at them, inspiring religious awe”: such a gratifying comment on the extraordinary work of Vittorio Sella.
(Stroncone 1811 – Rome 1877)
Carlo Baldassarre Simelli studied art in Rome and was at first interested in painting, until he became a photographer of great success. In fact, in 1857 he photographed the buttresses of the Vatican Dome at the request of the Fabbrica di San Pietro. In 1864, he took the photographs accompanying the Antiquités Chrétiennes de Rome by Barbier de Montault and in 1868–1869, he was the collaborator of Parker. In 1870, he took part in the Mostra Cattolica in Rome with a series of Christian archeology photographs. From 1870 to 1873 he moved his studio to Frascati with the goal of taking country photographs for artistic use. He later returned to Rome where he passed away in 1877.
(Lodi 1883 – Milan 1956)
After arriving in Milan at the age of 19, Emilio Sommaria began practicing photography as a shop assistant while also taking interest in painting. In 1904, he opened his own studio which he then moved in 1913 to Via San Paolo. Castagneri and Crimella would train here. In 1911, he was given a gold medal at the Esposizione Internazionale in Rome and an honorary diploma at the fair in Turin. In 1922, his considerable success was praised in the press for his participation in the World’s Photography Exposition in London and in 1923, he stood out at the Prima Esposizione Internazionale di Fotografia Artistica in Turin. Sommariva was above all a master of portraiture, and his clients consisted of the middle class and artists. He also took pictures of landscapes that are not in a painterly style.
(Frankfurt am Main 1834 – Naples 1914)
He approached photography as a young man and trained with the Andreas and Sons studio in Frankfurt in 1853. Afterwards, serious economic and family situations led him to become a professional photographer. In 1857, he moved to Italy, at first in Rome and then, definitively, in Naples, where he got married and spent the rest of his life, leaving the city only for some photo shoots across Italy. He took above all views and documented artworks he distributed in various formats, including stereoscope and cartes de visite. Around 1860 he was a partner in business (Sommer & Behles) with Edmondo Behles (1841–1921), who owned an atelier in Rome. In 1889, he filed the studio’s new name, Ditta Giorgio Sommer e Figlio, and one year later he opened another one in Palermo.
(Naples 1831 – Campobasso 1915)
After studying painting in Naples, Antonio Trombetta began devoting himself to photography around 1860s. He then established the “Studio Fotografico Trombetta” where, starting in the 1890s, he was joined by his son Alfredo. During the years they shared the atelier, it is hard to distinguish the work of the father from that of his son. In fact, Alfredo, thanks to the influence of his father, was quite inclined to the painting style that created different though similar results, on the one hand “photopaintings” and a painting tendency. For many years, the Studio Trombetta remained a reference point for photography in Molise, with an output ranging from landscapes to monuments, portraits to popular customs and folkloric and religious traditions.
A photography pioneer in Rome, Tuminello was active from 1842 circa. Attracted to Republican liberalism, he escaped to Turin, where he lived from 1849 to 1869. Here he was devoted to views and portraits, and his clients were key exponents of the middle class in Turin. Between 1859 and 1861 he followed Orazio Antinori on his expeditions to Egypt and Sudan, creating an interesting series of calotype images. Tuminello, though an attentive experimenter of all photography techniques, obtained excellent results with the calotype he kept using for many years, praising its particular aesthetic qualities, even after more advanced techniques had gotten the upper hand.
He learned the profession thanks to his father who was a photographer in Trento as early as 1854. He would later take over the atelier. In 1895, he went to a photography school in Vienna and in 1897, he attended a course on phototype in Nuremberg. A passionate Alpine climber, her preferred mountain photography which he reproduced in post cards with the phototype technique, introducing it to the Trentino region for the first time. He also successfully used painting techniques like carbon prints, gum bichromate, and bromoil. In the 1930s, after an abrupt interruption due to the war, he resumed his profession and, after meeting Marinetti, he found new inspiration for photomontage that likened his work to that of the futurists.
(b. Genoa 1945)
In his hometown, he became interested in photography and science applied to art and visual communication. After moving to Florence to study architecture, he continued with photography with photo shoots on nature and science, but also on the city, architecture, works of art, archeology, and the landscape.
Over the following years, he expanded his own interests in documenting different settings and human activities, while practicing his previous kind of photography. In the 1980s, he became a partner of K&B news, an editorial photo agency, and went on numerous trips to document the areas. Finally, he expanded his own activity (mainly through still lifes) with the food and food-styling genre.
Enrico Van Lint began his art career, in the footsteps of his father, as a sculptor and art dealer. He became interested in photography most likely around the late 1840s. Alongside his portraits, Van Lint’s photo repertoire focuses above all on documenting the art and architecture of Pisa. Yet, some recently found prints prove Van Lint was interested in other cities, too, even though he was known exclusively in relation to Pisa. He also took pictures of monuments in Lucca, Pietrasanta, and Florence.
A lawyer and photographer, Giuseppe Vannucci Zauli belonged to one of the most representative middle-class families of Empoli from the mid-1800s. He was attracted to photography during his university years along with his friend Alex Franchini Stappo. In the 1940s and 1950s, he befriended photo enthusiasts in Florence and worked with Vincenzo Balocchi, subsequently re-elaborating the images he took with the master. In 1943, he and Alex Franchini-Strappo published Introduzione per una estetica fotografica and in 1945, Il bello fotografico, a text that gathers the images of many of the best photographers from the time. Between 1941 and 1955 he took the majority of his negatives which he would later retouch, creating new images.
(Mecklenbourg 1856 – Taormina 1931)
After studying art in Weimar, Wilhelm von Gloeden, a German baron, traveled across Italy on the traditional Grand Tour. He then moved to Taormina. During his time in Sicily, he learned from Giovanni Crupi the photography technique that he enjoyed more and more, also in a literary attempt “to rebuild” through images possible scenes of ancient Arcadia, set against the Etna and the sea of Ulysses. Starting in 1882 circa, he began to compose his photos helped by “local” actors, often with great eroticism. In 1895, he lost financial support and was forced to transform his passion for photography into an actual profession. He thus created a series of folkloric pictures he could sell to tourists, especially after the Calabria-Messina earthquake in 1908.
(studio active from 1860 to 1981)
One of Trieste’s (Austro-Hungarian) most famous photo studio, established by Giuseppe and carried forth by his son and grandchildren Marion and Wanda. In fact, Wanda would become one of the world’s most famous photographers. The studio’s output is diversified depending on the various figures who worked there, from documenting the city in the second half of the 1800s to the portrait masterpieces by Carlo and Wanda in the 1930s up to Marion’s war photographs.
After the death of his father Giuseppe, Carlo took perfect and highly technical photos of all kinds, especially portraits, though with different aspirations from his father: he did not feel like a professional photographer, conditioned to create stereotypical cartes de visite. Active between 1885 and 1928, he was part of the photography discourse and was well aware of its potentials and the need to revolutionize this new medium. He studied the work of the boldest photographers from Vienna and Munich, rendered with new techniques like gum bichromate or bromoil, aimed at a “flou” effect which he immediately adopted. Carlo dedicated himself to group photography, creating portraits that celebrate varying professions. He also took many family portraits—especially of his daughters—which proves his talent as a portraitist who emphasizes nuances, soft lighting with subtle psychological penetration.
Following in the footsteps of Carlo Wulz, Wanda, thanks to a collaboration with her sister Marion (1905–1990), grew interested in “atelier” portraits, making them a sort of family tradition. After breaking away from her father, Wanda elaborated her own personal style of great innovation and creativity: her shots are characterized by intense and contrasting lighting and, in some cases, by motion. In 1930, Wanda attracted the attention of an international and national audience. But in 1932, for the tenth anniversary of the Fascist Revolution, she earned definitive success for her portraits and the surprising futurist-type pictures including Colazione Futurista and in particular the overlapping Io+ gatto: all novelties coherently invented with new photography processes and of absolute originality.
(b. Spilimbergo 1932)
An Italian photographer and historian. After studying architecture and painting, he turned to photography (since 1952) and photography history (since 1954). One of the founders of the Gruppo friulano per una nuova fotografia (1955) and interested in sociological and environmental research, he first worked in Friuli (1952–1965) and then across Italy, taking professional documentary photography of Italy’s industries and later devoted himself in particular to territorial photography, as can be seen by his ten-year profession in Italy (1967–1976), and his pictures for the ENI publication Coste d’Italia e Monti d’Italia, in 9 volumes. The first university professor of photography in Italy, Zannier won various awards for his essential contribution to the history and diffusion of photography in Italy.