About us

The Archivio Storico Foto Locchi, under the protection of the Ministry of Culture (MIC) and containing material of unequalled historic and artistic value, is considered one of the world’s foremost collections of its kind. A continually expanding corpus of images, which thanks to recent acquisitions (link) now counts upwards of 5 million photographs recounting the history of Florence and Tuscany from the 1930s to the present, preserved in the form of the original negatives. Images from the worlds of sports, entertainment, and fashion, and reportages of great events in history – as well as “minor” picturesque fragments that tell of customs and daily life, yesterday as today.

Creation of a digital platform has made it possible to organize this immense wealth of imagery for easy, immediate consultation.

Our mission

The primary mission of the Archivio Foto Locchi is to constitute a point of reference and an avant-garde work-and-study tool for professionals, students, photography buffs, and – indeed – for anyone interested in the history of Florence and the great events and international personalities the city has hosted.
And by making available fascinating images with a historic flavor, the Archivio Foto Locchi also hopes to provide inspiration to those who would capture the Florence and Tuscany of today.

Our history

In 1924, landscape photographer Tullio Locchi, also an esteemed war photographer and official photographer to the royal family, decided to found a studio and shop in the city center: Foto Locchi in Piazza Vittorio, today’s Piazza della Repubblica.

At Tullio’s premature death in 1926, only two years after he had opened his studio, his widow continued the activity and founded a company with her late husband’s closest collaborators, the Moscato-Corcos family.

1934 L123-21

Ultimately, it was Silvano Corcos, co-director with his uncle Umberto as early as the late Twenties, who took over the reins and became the life and soul of the company.
Corcos, like Tullio Locchi a photographer to the royal family, was known not only for his technical expertise but also for his rare entrepreneurial acumen, which made Foto Locchi one of the most distinguished and renowned studios in Florence. So much so that this "bottega of photographic art and technique" became the city’s "official" photographer.

Silvano Corcos

The Archivio Foto Locchi owes its existence, and the idea for its innovative archival system, to the farsightedness of Silvano Corcos. The system is simple, and for this very reason highly efficacious, with an intrinsic logic that has proved perfectly compatible with modern software-based systems. His idea of identifying each photo via an unambiguous alphanumeric code, in and of itself a guarantee of referential integrity, has always permitted rapid, accurate access to the images, even without the help of the latest in electronic database management systems.

1934 5100bis

Foto Locchi’s lenses never missed a city event, and in an age when television was futuristic science, the three huge display windows in Piazza della Repubblica were the “screens” on which “live” coverage of major events in Florence appeared. The day after any event, Florentines could count on finding a comprehensive reportage on the shop’s notice boards. The storefront area was always crowded with people looking to see if they had been caught on film, or commenting or simply “watching” the event.

In the most productive years of its activity, the company’s photo-force counted up to thirty photographers between employees and freelance collaborators. And as the finest tradition of the typical artisan workshop dictates, the younger generations learned their trade through observation and emulation of the masters, whose task it was to hand down the Locchi style: a simple, no-frills style, defined by the need to “capture the moment” that informs photojournalism, without ever sacrificing the quality of the photo itself or – above all – foregoing the canons of photographic composition. The masters strove to instill in their apprentices the awareness that the artist does not limit himself to documenting reality through his lens but represents reality, and interprets it through creative effort. The lesson learned at Locchi is that the professional photographer must not be just a fine technician, but must go beyond the literal to develop that individual sensitivity that makes every shot a work of photographic art.

1946 L101-7

Ownership of the company has always remained with the Corcos family, today represented by Silvano’s daughter Deanna and her husband, Giampaolo Ghilardi, a photoreporter in his own right and the proprietor fino al 2015, anno della sua prematura scomparsa. Attualmente la guida della società e la gestione dell'Archivio sono affidate alla cura e alla passione della figlia Erika, fortemente determintata nella valorizzazione di questo patrimonio culturale, che recentemente ha potuto svelarsi al pubblico attraverso due importanti mostre monografiche ospitate nelle prestigiose sale di Palazzo Pitti a Firenze "Fashion in Forence through the lens of Archivio Foto Locchi" (9 gennaio 2017 - 5 marzo 2017) e "The Elegance of Speed" (11 giugno 2018 - 16 settembre 2018).


Recent acquisitions

The Archivio Foto Locchi is not a static “thing”; rather, it is more similar to a living organism, which grows and evolves day after day thanks to new photos, new acquisitions, and rediscoveries.

In recent years, the Archivio Foto Locchi has expanded its iconographic holdings through acquisition of three other prestigious Florentine archives, bringing the sum total of archival material to more than 5 million images:

  • Archivio Italfotogieffe, comprising over 500,000 images relating to news and sports in Florence. An ample section is devoted entirely to football: to the Italian national team, and, in particular, to the city’s Fiorentina team, whose history it diligently tracks in images – from its beginnings in Via Bellini through our day.

  • Archivio Foto Levi, containing about 1 million images relating to every imaginable aspect of city life from 1947 through the 1970s.

  • l'Archivio Bazzechi, costituito dal fotografo aretino Ivo Bazzechi che ha saputo magistralmente documentare la vita cittadina a partire dagli anni '50 con particolare attenzione allo sviluppo dell'artigianato fiorentino.