Three hundred thousands of mostly unpublished black and white images: 4 x 5 negatives on glass plate leaving place over time to 4 x 5 images on film sheet, then to 120 rolls during the Fifties replaced by 135 cartridges from early Seventies on. Such is the content of the Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche archive in numbers.
A quick peek at it and we can't help falling in love with long-gone faces, places and events whose strength still pops out of each contact print and is now history: movie stars and art/culture personalities, day and night views of Venice and of the surrounding countryside, gossip, crime, sports and local news, artwork or prints reproductions. Local events like high tides, strikes and protests, celebrations, floods, regattas, the Venice Carnival, regional and period costumes... You name it and it's there.
Many different hands respectfully took care of this collection for 70 years, tagging them as best as possible: fountain pen notes come with earlier images, then typewriter fonts on index cards classify them. Data are nowadays put into a spreadsheet.
A brief chronology:
Venetian photographer Dino Jarach sets up the Interfoto photo agency, whose reportages get immediate success in the photojournalism world: he shows famous people visiting Venice for the International Movie Festival, for the Art Biennale or for leisure.
Dino Jarach moves to Milan and his Interfoto is purchased by Giselda Paulon who changes the agency’s name into Camerafoto.
Giselda Paulon sells Camerafoto to Mirko Busatto who turns the agency’s name into Cameraphoto. Mirko loves photography but is not a photographer, so he starts a partnership with the venetian photoreporters Walter Stefani, Celio Scapin, Claudio Gallo and Duilio Stigher. Gallo works in the agency since the Interfoto days in the late 1940s, while Stigher was already in Camerafoto since 1958.
Mirko Busatto sells Cameraphoto to his four partners Stefani, Scapin, Gallo and Stigher. Their wonderful job through the next 15 years leads to worldwide reputation and to a partnership with Associated Press: their images are published on most international papers.
Celio Scapin becomes the sole owner of Cameraphoto, shifting it towards artwork reproduction and documentation of artwork restorations.
Celio Scapin shuts his Cameraphoto photo agency down and sells its huge collection of images, splitting it into two different archives: Archivio Cameraphoto Arte including artwork reproductions and Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche which holds the historical archive (personalities and all what listed above, 1946 t0 1987).
Carlo Pescatori purchases rights on the whole Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche archive content and his Starsinvenice is born.