CHARTA/AMERICAN ACADEMY IN ROME
Steps Off the Beaten Path
Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Rome and Its Environs
Edited by W. Bruce Lundberg, John Pinto. Text by Marina Miraglia, Maria Francesca Bonetti, Allan Ceen, W. Bruce Lundberg. Preface by Sarah Greenough.
By 1860, photography in Rome was undergoing dramatic change. The level of detail made possible by new glass wet plate and albumen techniques encouraged photographers to take a documentary approach, focusing on architectural fragments, transitional spaces like stairways, even citizens going blurrily about their daily business--in short, on everything but the city’s oft-photographed basilicas and ruins. The candid, frequently off-balance images collected in this unique volume, by photographers such as Vincento Carlo, Domenico Baldessare Simelli, Eugène Gustave Chauffourier, A. de Bonis and Edmond Lebel, anticipate both street photography and postmodern photographic abstraction.
These photographers have only recently begun to emerge from obscurity and remain poorly documented. Indeed, many of their images have never been exhibited, and in some cases attribution remains conjectural. By bringing a significant body of work together, this collection sheds new light on their individual artistic personalities and illuminates the contributions of the group to the history of photography.