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Cyanotypes of Florence, Italy 

Cyanotypes are rarely found in Italy. Cyanotype views are even rarer, while twelve topographical cyanotypes in a studio album format are virtually unknown, at least in my experience as a collector. Unfortunately, the studio which produced these images is not indicated, though the maker would appear to be a professional photographer who had worked in Florence. He used more than one lens, and he had access to privileged viewpoints, which would not have been available to amateurs or visiting foreigners. The subjects reflect the typical itinerary of the ‘grand tour’ souvenir album of the city, and they were probably derived from glass plates made at an earlier date, probably the early 1880s. The positioning of the camera and the absence of shadows suggests that each view was taken at the most appropriate time of the day, i.e., they are the result of a sustained and costly effort to capture the moment when each subject could be photographed to its best advantage. If albums such as this were intended as a commercial enterprise, however, we can reasonably conclude that the attempt was not a commercial success.
Michael G. Jacob
Spoleto, Italy 



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