We owe the visual archive recording a disappearing Gozo to early photographers who captured on camera a reality that has changed beyond recognition. They fall broadly in two categories: those who photographed the Maltese islands, including Gozo, and those who concentrated almost exclusively on Gozo.
There seems to have been a jealously-guarded ‘territorial’ monopoly on imaging Gozo: only Gozitan photographers could commercialise the island in postcards. Prolific Maltese publishers did not produce Gozo sets. At most, they sneaked a few Gozo images in large runs of Malta cards.
The unchallenged king of Gozo photography was Mikiel or Michele Farrugia ‘il-Badiku’, who marketed his abundant wares either in his name or as ‘Photo Amateur’. An ardent Strickland supporter, he was an excellent photographer, active since the early 1900s. He sometimes placed himself in his photos. With his brother Angelo, he claims the lion’s share of Gozo’s early imaging.
T.M. Salmond, associate member, Institution of Civil Engineers, a Scotsman from the naval dockyard, may have preceded Farrugia as a Gozo photographer, by a whisker.
The two Cremona camera artists, Giuseppe and his nephew Francis, also enriched Gozo’s iconography.
Though not a Gozitan, Edward E. Gouder photographed superbly an extended series of Gozo boats, tal-latini.
To be concluded. Read part 1 of this series.
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