Fondazione Alinari per la Fotografia (Alinari Foundation for Photography) Bridgeman Collection Spotlight

Bridgeman Images are proud to represent the Fondazione Alinari per la Fotografia (Alinari Foundation for Photography - FAF)

 

couple in love hugging looking over a balcony in Florence 1954, black and white photo
 Love in Florence, 1954 (gelatin silver print), Vincenzo Balocchi (1892-1975) / Alinari / Bridgeman Images

 

We asked some questions to Giorgio van Straten, President of FAF, to learn more about this incredible project:

 

line of women workers from last century cycling through a field in Italy
A group of workers who travel to work by bike / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Q. Can you tell us more about the history of the Alinari Archive, one of the oldest photographic archives in the world?​

 

 

Interior of the Photographic studio of Fratelli Alinari in the 19th century, Florence
The luminous portrait studio of the Alinari Brothers' photographic establishment, in Florence. On the left the photograph Gaetano Puccini / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

A. Fratelli Alinari founded it in the mid-19th century. 

Together with the usual activity of photographic studies of that time (landscapes and portraits photography), Alinari started to document Italy’s artistic heritage, creating the basis for an image archive that has been used for decades by scholars worldwide. Thanks to the commitment of a series of owners ( the last of which was Claudio De Polo) the archive has grown over time and now comprises over 5,000,000 assets including transparencies, negatives, documents, cameras, books, etc.

 
old locomotives with steam coming out inside a station in Italy, black and white photo
At the station (b/w photo) / Touring Club Italiano/Alinari Archives Management / Bridgeman Images

 

Q. How was the Alinari Foundation for Photography created and what is its mission?

 

Florence, January 27, 1959- the armed forces intervene during a demonstration protesting against the lay-offs at the Galileo factory, 27/01/1959 (photo) / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

A. In 2019, the Alinari Archives were purchased by Regione Toscana, with the twin goals of safeguarding the integrity of this heritage archive and making it more accessible to scholars and the community in general. At that time it was decided that the restoration, conservation and enhancement of this huge archive required a dedicated organization: FAF Toscana - fondazione Alinari per la Fotografia (the Alinari Foundation for Photography) was born for this specific purpose.

 

group of tourists admiring the Primavera by Botticelli in Uffizi Gallery, Florence, 50's, 60's
Florence. Uffizi Gallery. Tourists admiring Botticelli's "La Primavera" / Alinari / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Q. What role or responsibility do you think FAF Toscana should take on the cultural and social landscape?

 

People during a picnic in Tuscany, 50's 60's (b/w photo), Vincenzo Balocchi
People during a picnic, c.1955-60 (b/w photo), Vincenzo Balocchi, (1892-1975) / Fratelli Alinari Museum Collections-Balocchi Archive, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

A. A heritage archive that becomes public-owned must face the challenge of establishing a relationship with the community where it is located, and, at the same time, with the international community linked to the world of photography. 

 

Young man in a canoe  "Rowing on the Arno", Florence, 40's
 "Rowing on the Arno", Florence / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

On one hand, the foundation aims to raise awareness of the Archives’ content and wants to facilitate access for those who want to study it. On the other hand, it also needs to make the Archive a source of income that will support and help grow all the various activities of the foundation

 
shot from above, view of people sitting at tables in the Thermal tower plant in Montecatini Terme, Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy, 1954, 50's
Thermal tower plant in Montecatini Terme, Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy, 1954 / Touring Club Italiano/Alinari Archives Management / Bridgeman Images

 

Q. Could you explain your role and tell us about a typical day of your life in this phase of the Foundation's development?

 

Closeup of a young worker to sew a shoe with the help of a machine inside the shoe factory Montanari, Italy, 50's 60's
Closeup of a young worker to sew a shoe with the help of a machine inside the shoe factory Montanari / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

A. The archives have a centuries-old history but the foundation has just been set-up. It is a real start-up and therefore must be built from the scratch. My mission is to start this process both in its daily activities (from the 16th of December we are starting image licensing) and in its strategic decisions: where to place the archive, identifying the ideal location for the Museum (which is one of the central objectives of the foundation), and selecting public and private partners to work with. Days are very hectic and I hope that we will quickly appoint a director who can support me on this journey.

 

tents on a beach in Italy, 40's, 40's, black and white  photo
Tents on the beach / Touring Club Italiano/Alinari Archives Management / Bridgeman Images

 

Q. What jobs have you done before being the president of Fondazione Alinari?

 

street of Florence in 1938, view from above of a carriage with horse and people walking around, black and white photo
Florence, 1938 (gelatin silver print), Vincenzo Balocchi, (1892-1975) / Alinari / Bridgeman Images

 

A. I am a gentleman of a certain age and the list would be very long. Let's say that for years I was involved in the management of musical institutions, then I was the president of the company that was looking after Scuderie del Quirinale and the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, then I was part of the RAI board of directors and in recent years I was director of the Italian Cultural Institute in New York.

 

a bare-chested young worker with mallet and a chisel in Laconi Cave, Italy 1940-50 (b/w photo)
Laconi Cave- a bare-chested worker with mallet and a chisel, 1940-50 (b/w photo), Studio Villani (20th century) / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

  

Q. Is there an image or a photographer that you prefer within the Alinari collection?

 

Santa Croce square in the times when Florence was Italy's capital
Santa Croce square with the monument to Dante Alighieri / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

A. For me, as for many Florentines, Alinari represents the historical memory of the city, therefore I am most attached to images that document the historic town center of Florence when it was the Italian capital city. 

explosion of the cart on Easter Sunday when Florence was Italy's capital
The explosion of the cart in the Piazza del Duomo in Florence during the Easter Sunday / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

If I had to choose a single image, then it would be the portrait of Giuseppe Garibaldi from 1867.

 

 

 

Q. Do you have any projects or exhibitions planned for the future after COVID?

Old Bare-chested worker with a pick on his shoulder in a cave. The photograph was commissioned by the ILVA factory of Genoa
Bare-chested worker with a pick on his shoulder in a cave. The photograph was commissioned by the ILVA factory of Genoa. / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

A. Yes - many in fact. Here I will mention two. The first is an exhibition based on the extraordinary collection of truly unique photos (that is, photos taken before the invention of negatives) and on daguerreotypes depicting Tuscany.

 

View of Piazza Santa Croce after the flood that swept through Florence in November of 1966 (b/w photo) / Alinari / Bridgeman Images
View of Piazza Santa Croce after the flood that swept through Florence in November of 1966 (b/w photo) / Alinari / Bridgeman Images

 

The second is an exhibition about Italy produced for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which comprises 160 photos (and not just Alinari content) that will open in Tuscany, where it is designed and created and will then travel around the world. 

 

Young boys selling products on the beach in Italy, 30's, 40's, black and white photo
"Ambiente"- Young sellers on the beach / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

Q. Why did you choose Bridgeman Images as a licensing partner?

 

The 'Five Musketeers' of Spoleto, pest control officers with their bikes, c.1930 (gelatin silver print), Jules Brocherel
The 'Five Musketeers' of Spoleto, pest control officers, c.1930 (gelatin silver print), Jules Brocherel, (1871-1954) / Alinari / Touring Club Italiano/Alinari Archives Management / Bridgeman Images

 

A. Because we are a historical heritage archive and we want our name to be linked only to partners who have the same importance and credibility.

 

Soldiers rowing on a small boat rescuing people stranded by the flood of Florence, November 1966 (b/w photo)
Soldiers rescuing people stranded by the flood of Florence, November 1966 (b/w photo), Italian Photographer, (20th century) / Florence, Tuscany, Italy / RCS/Alinari Archives Management, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

 Q. What superpower would you have?

 

Little girls filling a bucket of water, 9th May 1939 (b/w photo), Vincenzo Balocchi
Little girls filling a bucket of water, 9th May 1939 (b/w photo), Vincenzo Balocchi, (1892-1975) / Fratelli Alinari Museum Collections-Balocchi Archive, Florence / Bridgeman Images 

 

A. I wish I had the power to fly.

 

The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence seen from a roof nearby
The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence / Alinari Archives, Florence / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Explore specific photographers and topics:

Social History: from the XIX century to the 70's

Florence

Folco Quilici

Fosco Maraini

Wanda Wulz

Discover the entire Fondazione Alinari per la Fotografia.

 

Please contact us for any query or picture request.


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