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Carlo Ponti, Photographer

Carlo Ponti was born in Sagno, a village in the Canton Ticino district of Switzerland circa 1823. Details of his childhood and parentage are nonexistent, and official accounts of his life invariably begin with his relocation to Paris as a young adult. He worked for the Cauchoix photography studio for a few years before permanently settling in Venice, where he opened a small optician business. His optical products, for which Mr. Ponti shrewdly retained exclusive rights, quickly gained a reputation for their high quality. In addition to his astronomical instruments, he also constructed award-winning panoramic view lenses and several types of photographic equipment.

In 1854, Mr. Ponti officially embarked upon his second career as a photographer, specializing in architectural photography, for which his masterful lighting techniques were particularly well-suited. In his famous photograph of the Canova in the Frari monument, he establishes dramatic effect by capturing the image at an acute angle, which also emphasized the shadows and light on the sculptures and the ethereal swirls on the marbled tomb. By 1855, Mr. Ponti had amassed a collection of 160 photographs of Venetian architecture, which were later published in a historical compilation. He expanded his photographic repertoire to include portraits of urban life, in which the various styles of dress clearly delineated the social class disparity of the period. Mr. Ponti embarked upon successful collaborations with celebrated Venetian photographers Domenico Bresolin, Antonnio Fortunato Perini, and most notoriously, Carlo Naya. Because Mr. Ponti published Mr. Naya's photographic prints and used his own trademark on them, there was considerable confusion regarding ownership.

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2013-10-14 20:00:09
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