In 2019 the Alinari Archives changed owners and was purchased by the Regione Toscana. Giorgio van Straten, president of the new Alinari Foundation created by the Regione Toscana after the purchase of the Fratelli Alinari heritage answered three questions on the Alinari archive.
- What can you tell us on the changes in ownership occurred at Alinari in the last couple of years?
In 2019, the Alinari Archives were purchased by Regione Toscana, with the twin goals of safeguarding the integrity of this heritage archive and making it more accessible to scholars and the community in general. ILast year Regione Toscana also acquired all the digital images, the website and the trademarks. Then Regione Toscana decided that the restoration, conservation and enhancement of this huge archive required a dedicated organization: this is the FAF Toscana – fondazione Alinari per la Fotografia (the Alinari Foundation for Photography) was born for this specific purpose. Since last December the Foundation started licensing images from our archives aas well as images of many other Italian archives.
- What can you tell us on Alinari’s international partnership strategy and partners?
A heritage archive that becomes public-owned must face the challenge of establishing a relationship with the community where it is located, and, at the same time, with the international community linked to the world of photography. The archive has a centuries-old history but the foundation has just been set-up. It is a real start-up which must be built from scratch. My mission is to start this process both in its daily activities and in its strategic decisions: where to place the archive, identifying the ideal location for the Museum (which is one of the central objectives of the foundation), and selecting public and private partners to work with. Many contracts of Alinari Idea spa with international archives and agents were renewed in the last couple of weeks.
- What can you tell us about Alinari now, its team and about yourself and your experience with visual content
As said, we are just at the beginning of our journey. We just started the selection of staff, this month we are going to appoint the director of the archive and, at the same time, we are working on many projects. Here I will mention two. The first is an exhibition based on the extraordinary collection of truly unique photos (that is, photos taken before the invention of negatives) in particular on daguerreotypes depicting Tuscany. The second is an exhibition about Italy produced for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which comprises 160 photos (and not just Alinari content) that will open in Tuscany, where it is designed and created and will then travel around the world.
I am a gentleman of a certain age and the list of my previous jobs would be very long. Let’s say that for years I was involved in the management of musical institutions, then I was the president of the company that was looking after Scuderie del Quirinale and the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, the main exhibitions spaces in Rome, then I was part of the RAI board of directors and in recent years I was director of the Italian Cultural Institute in New York, where I organized many photo exhibitions.
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