Adolfo Farsari

Three Yuujo (courtesans) posing on an engawa, c. 1885. Hand-coloured albumen silver print.

Adolfo Farsari (Italian pronunciation: [aˈdolfo farˈsaːri]; 11 February 1841 – 7 February 1898) was an Italian photographer based in Yokohama, Japan. His studio, the last notable foreign-owned studio in Japan, was one of the country's largest and most prolific commercial photographic firms. Largely due to Farsari's exacting technical standards and his entrepreneurial abilities it had a significant influence on the development of photography in Japan.

Following a brief military career, including service in the American Civil War, he became a successful entrepreneur and commercial photographer. His photographic work was highly regarded, particularly his hand-coloured portraits and landscapes, which he sold mostly to foreign residents and visitors to the country.

Farsari's images were widely distributed, presented or mentioned in books and periodicals, and sometimes recreated by artists in other media; they shaped foreign perceptions of the people and places of Japan and to some degree affected how Japanese saw themselves and their country.

Early years

Adolfo Farsari was born in Vicenza, Lombardy-Venetia (then part of the Austrian Empire, now in Italy). He began a career in the Italian military in 1859 but emigrated to the United States in 1863 and, a fervent abolitionist,[1] Farsari served with the Union Army as a New York State Volunteer Cavalry trooper until the end of the American Civil War. He married an American, but the marriage failed and in 1873 he left his wife and two children and moved to Japan.[2]

Based in Yokohama, Farsari formed a partnership with E. A. Sargent. Their firm, Sargent, Farsari & Co., dealt in smokers' supplies, stationery, visiting cards, newspapers, magazines and novels, Japanese and English conversation books, dictionaries, guidebooks, maps, and photographic views of Japan. The creator of these photographs remains unknown, but Farsari was the maker of at least some of the maps, notably of Miyanoshita (in the Hakone resort area) and Yokohama.[3] After his partnership with Sargent ended, the company, now A. Farsari & Co., published successive editions of Keeling's Guide to Japan and Farsari himself wrote and published Japanese Words and Phrases for the Use of Strangers.[4] The firm was among the most prolific publishers of materials to aid travellers, having produced its first guidebook to Japan by July 1880.[5]

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українська: Адольфо Фарсарі