Rebecca Van Straten (UCL) - 2018-19 Students

Olivetti: Typing a History of Italian Photography

My research investigates the photographic archive of the Italian design firm Olivetti. The company was known worldwide for the technology and design of its products, the cutting-edge architecture of its industrial plants and stores, as well as for its progressive industrial politics. Under the management of Adriano Olivetti, the firm became a place of aggregation for designers, architects, artists, and intellectuals.
My dissertation analyses the photographic section of the Olivetti archive, with a particular emphasis on the company’s use of photography in its wide range of publications. By doing so, this research aims to investigate the representation of labour and women workers in post-war Italy, the visual rhetoric associated with the North/South divide, and the relationship between industrial photography and other coeval photographic practices.

Primary supervisor: Dr. Stephanie Schwartz, UCL
Secondary supervisor: Dr Richard Taws, UCL

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