Swiss Camera Museum Foundation
Presided over by Michel Berney, the Swiss Camera Museum Foundation’s objective is to support the Museum in its protection and exhibition of all material relevant to the history of photographic techniques and technology, and in particular, cameras, accessories and other processes of Swiss manufacture.
This public utility role, recognized by the tax authorities, enables our donors and sponsors to declare their contributions towards the conservation of the patrimony and the memory of Swiss photography.
Since its creation in 1991, the Foundation has thus been able to collect funds for many operations that have radically transformed the Museum.
The Foundation’s first activity was the acquisition of a very beautiful collection of 19th century camerae obscurae and instruments. This included a megalethoscope, belonging to the Ticino photographer, Carlo Ponti, who was living in Venice, and which came from a large Swiss collection that was divided up and sold at a Sotheby’s auction in London.
Then, thanks to Elinchrom’s support, came the acquisition, piece by piece, of an exceptional studio camera with a 21 x 27 format slide drawer made by Charles Chevalier. This was followed by the Schuler collection of small format cameras, and then some magnificent examples of photographic processes, daguerreotypes and other ferrotypes.
Over the years, more than 380 articles of the greatest technical and historical interest have accumulated to enrich the coherence of the Museum’s collection.
At the end of the 20th century, the Foundation was raising almost half of the funds intended for the Museum’s extension and the transfer of its public ground floor entrance into the Grande Place, especially thanks to the support of the Loterie Romande and Federal funds from the minting of commemorative coins.
Thanks to the support of the Federal Office of Culture, for photographic projects of national importance, the Foundation succeeded in the following years in saving several first-class collections, such as that of Gerhard Honegger, the last exponent of magic lanterns in Switzerland, and that of the historian and journalist, Urs Tillmanns, together with the store of his archives.
On each occasion, the role of the Loterie Romande, of Elinchrome, Swiss manufacturer of professional electronic flash equipment, based in Renens, as well as the Museum’s many partners, were decisive. May we take this opportunity to thank them from the bottom of our hearts.
Carlo Ponti’s Megalethoscope, distributed by Carlo Naya.
Why is the name of Carlo Naya, whose relations with Carlo Ponti are known,on an article reputedly belonging to Carlo Ponti? If the latter did actually acquire the exclusivity for this production in 1862,the administrative confusion following the cession of Venetia to Italy in October of 1866 undermined this privilege, and other Venetian photographers, including Naya, were able to produce and sell this equipment.