Carlo Naya

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Photographer Carlo Naya
Venice in black&white
Carlo Naya

An empty, cold, ghostly Venice, where an eerie silence also enters the eyes. This is Venice in the shots of Carlo Naya, who photographed it since 1857, arriving from Pisa. His photographic studio between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is one of the most important in Venice and Italy, with an international market. With large format optical benches, Naya photographs everything that can be photographed: views, architecture, works of art, city life scenes. Over the years he has created a real “visual census”, which becomes a precious archive of the architectural, environmental and artistic riches of the city and its lagoon and a piece of the history of photography.

In the first shots the human figure is rare, due to the long shutter speeds required. As the technique evolves, the photographs become populated. Naya photographs for the Venetians, who in his shots found their city, for scholars and artists, who thus have real catalogs of works at their disposal, for foreigners and travelers, who find images and memories of the places they have visited. Carlo Naya has a profound artistic culture and great technical ability, his photographs recall both the Venetian landscape tradition and the photographic innovation of that time.

Carlo Naya, born in Piedmont, graduated in law in Pisa, travels to Italy, Europe, Egypt and the Middle East and finally settles in Venice. The Naya company has its first headquarters in ‘riva degli Schiavoni’, with a laboratory in ‘campo San Maurizio’, after 1867 the shop is in ‘piazza San Marco’. He conquers medals at the International Exhibitions and its catalogs are translated. He has correspondents from many European capitals and is also the king’s photographer, with the exclusive right for shooting the big events in Venice. He died in 1882, but the company remained open until 1918, when part of his archive was sold to Osvaldo Böhm. In 1941 the Naya collection was purchased by the Correr Museum. Later there were other acquisitions and donations and a part of the collection has been transferred to Palazzo Fortuny, where over 1000 originals have been ordered and digitized.

Thanks Carlo, for your invaluable contribution.


Location: Palazzo Fortuny, Venice

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