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Storie di fotografia

Storie di fotografia

Il Ticino, i Ticinesi e i loro fotografi nella collezione fotografica dell’Archivio di Stato 1855-1930

The exhibition is based on the State Archives Photographic Library (Fototeca dell’Archivio di Stato), a collection of over a thousand photographs of Ticinese subjects compiled over the decades since the 1940s. Its historical value meant that in 2017-18 the body of work was the subject of a conservation and cataloguing project supported by Memoriav, the association for the preservation of Swiss audiovisual heritage.

The exhibition’s subtitle explicitly pays tribute to Ticino and Its Photographers, another exhibition curated by the Swiss Foundation of Photography held in Lugano in 1987-88 which represented a crucial moment in the awareness of the historical value of photography in Ticino. In fact, Ticino and Its Photographers contributed to a multitude of projects which, although unrelated to each other and different in terms of time, resources and scope, have made it possible to highlight images and documents from Ticino’s photographic history.

Precisely in this regard, this exhibition aims to highlight the richness, the variety of content and the informative potential of the State Archives Photographic Library through a selection of about 150 original photographs combined with a selection of significant documents and objects. At the same time, it aims to tell stories that each of us can read or imagine through a portrait or a panorama; stories that tell of juxtapositions or groupings, or those that overlap with the written history of our Canton, or even those that arise from the photographer’s logo stamp leading us to consider the world of Ticino photography in general.

The selection of photographs on display expands upon two concepts understood in their broadest sense: the Ticinese and Ticino. As far as the Ticinese are concerned, the choice was dictated by the desire to provoke reflection on the presentation and self-representation of our ancestors and, at the same time, on those elements which, taken and disseminated by photography, have contributed to shaping the Ticinese identity. Similarly, in wanting to depict our Canton, effort was made to include those subjects that embody Ticino’s transition towards modernity such as the construction of public interest projects which used photography to immortalize and celebrate these events. At the same time, our Canton is also a place suspended between reality and imagination, caught between a Canton that lives and transforms and a Canton for tourists’ use and consumption. Both the direct and indirect visual representations of this phenomenon are many-sided and lend themselves to countless interpretations.

Lastly, the exhibition includes an updated list of the photographers who worked professionally in Ticino between 1850 and 1930.

“Storie di fotografia” is therefore an exhibition dedicated to appreciating the State Archives photographic collection, but simultaneously offering an opportunity to add some pieces of knowledge to the history, or the stories, of photography in Ticino.


  • OPENING Mon... Sun: 10:30 - 16:00
  • CATEGORIES Exhibitions and fairs