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Glass Plate Photographs

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The Fotostiftung Schweiz in Winterthur shows works by a Swiss chronicler “Roberto Donetta Photographer and Seed Salesman from Bleniotal”. On view until 4 September, 2016.

Roberto Donetta (1865–1932) from Ticino is one of Swiss photography’s great outsiders. He managed to survive as a travelling photographer and seed salesman, and upon his death left almost 5,000 glass plates which were preserved merely by chance. These capture the archaic life of his compatriots in the Blenio Valley, which at the time was totally isolated, and the gradual advent of modern times in a precise and sensitive way.

Over a period of 30 years and in an era of great change, Donetta became a unique chronicler. At the same time, he saw himself as an artist who – self-taught – experimented freely and knew how to master his medium. His pictures are penetrating and humorous, cheerful and deadly serious – be they of children, families, wedding couples, professional people, the harsh everyday-life of women and men, or of the photographer himself. The Blenio Valley as a microcosm: with Donetta the mountain valley becomes the stage for a great Theater of the World.

The exhibition will display about 120 works from the Donetta Archive, many of them on show to the public for the first time ever.

Please find more information at Fotostiftung Schweiz

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