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Warsaw. Roman holidays 1957 – exhibition at Fotoplastikon Warsaw

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48 stereoscopic photos were included in the exhibition “Roman holidays 1957, or the eternal city in Danuta Szlajmer’s photographs”. The eternal city in the photographs from seven decades ago shocks with empty streets. It is in vain to look for residents rushing on scooters or tourists who today visit the capital of Italy in the strength of seven million a year.

The photos taken in 1957 show, above all, the power of architecture – the most important monuments of ancient Rome bathed in the sun. Sitting in front of the viewfinder of the pre-war machine at Aleje Jerozolimskie, we admire moving black and white, three-dimensional photographs of the Colosseum, Trajan’s Forum, Hadrian’s Mausoleum, Victor Emmanuel II Bridge, Quirinal Palace and Piazza della Rotonda.

– The author visited all the most important monuments of ancient Rome. What is surprising is the appalling small number of people. You can’t even see them on the Spanish Steps, which today are occupied by tourists at any time of the day. There are also some flavors, for example a photo of a newsstand full of newspapers. Although there are few cars, there is one photo in which they are the main character, so you can also see the fascination with the automotive industry – says Paweł Brząkała, curator of the exhibition.

Never shown before

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The author of all the photographs is Danuta Szlajmer, the first post-war owner of Fotoplastikon Warszawski. She sold it in the 1970s when she decided to emigrate to the United States. The Warsaw Uprising Museum bought the pre-war device from subsequent owners in 2009, along with a collection of photos. Among them were 35 photographs from Rome. But this is not enough for an independent exhibition, because the fotoplastikon holds 48 photos in a rotating mechanism. It must be that he made a circle.

– Two years later Mrs. Danuta contacted us and gave us a box of negatives. She thought they had no value, didn’t even want to include it in the donation list. But it turned out that there are negatives of photos that we didn’t have, Rome was such a case. We found 23 additional photos that had never been exposed and therefore also shown. This is part of the same collection, together we collected 58 photos, which allowed us to make a full exhibition – explains Brząkała.

The exhibition is open until April 29, from Wednesday to Saturday at Fotoplastikon Warszawski.

Main photo source: Danuta Szlajmer / MPW

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