Trevimage by Carlo De GoriRomeing Editorial Staff
Rome, Reimagined: Through the Lens of Carlo De Gori
A family-run studio near the Pantheon creates unique, eccentric photos of Rome
Stepping into the tiny studio on Via della Rotonda, you feel as though you have entered a new universe. As you turn from the Pantheon, which stands just meters from the shop’s doorway, the historic hues of Ancient Rome are swallowed by bursts of electric red, blue, and yellow. Inside the whimsical, innovative photography studio of TrevImage, history melds with contemporary art in the form of eye-catching shots of the Eternal City.
Something immediately striking about TrevImage upon first glance is the brightness that radiates from inside. Bright colors jump out from shelves of photographs lining the interior. Paint splatters, colorful overlays, and geometric shapes give new life to classic Roman statues, architecture, and monuments in De Gori’s photos.
TrevImage, an independent photography studio tucked in Rome’s Centro Storico, has captured the unconventional aspects of the city since 2013 when its founders, Carlo De Gori and his wife, Nora, decided to pursue Carlo’s passion for photography full-time. Originally from Calabria, Carlo studied industrial and interior design at university and originally saw photography only as a hobby. However, it appears as though this hobby was destined to become a lifestyle, as it led him to two major aspects of his life – the first being his wife.
“We met on the streets when he was selling photographs for fun,” Nora explains. “I said ‘Hey, your stuff is actually pretty good!’… and the rest is history.”
“The creative inspiration comes from when I fight with her.”
Today, the business is what Nora aptly describes as “a two-man show… though sometimes a one-man show,” when the time to pick the kids up from school rolls around.
Nora and Carlo playfully interrupt each other while recounting the story of how they met, each complicating what the other says with a clarification that only one seems to remember – like how Carlo saw Nora as a naive tourist and decided to raise the price on her (even though, he claims, he was just pricing things at random). Of course, he couldn’t resist asking for her number.
The pair has always been equipped to deal with whirlwind changes to their lifestyle, such as dropping everything and moving to Rome together to pursue photography, and the conditions brought by the coronavirus lockdown proved to be no different. During the pandemic, De Gori had the opportunity to leave his house and shoot some of the piazzas and monuments of Rome while the city streets were devoid of people. He found himself with a lot of time on his hands, as all of us suddenly did. So, when he began playing around with acrylic paint, the idea of painting over photos and creating original pieces of mixed media art was born and has since become an aspect of TrevImage’s brand.
“Yeah, I’m a bit obsessed with colors.”
Two years ago, under the previous mayor, there was a contest declared where people applied to submit portfolio/credentials for the right to sell their art in the streets. Carlo was selected from hundreds of applicants to take the practical exam. Every other competitor specialized in painting, drawing, and other visual arts. He was the only photographer out of the 250 participants, and drew mixed responses from his fellow artists. During a live demonstration, he produced a mixed media photograph that he edited, fixed, and painted. De Gori was selected in 26th place out of 250, and was allowed to select a location in Rome in which he was legally allowed to sell his work on the street. He chose Piazza Trilussa for himself. This was the first time in Rome’s history that such a competition took place, and there have yet to be plans for another round.
De Gori’s photographs capture a Rome that is not accessible through history books. They narrate a modern city, both dynamic and vivid in character. It is a Rome that one must get to know first-hand; and if you are unable to visit the Eternal City for yourself, Carlo’s photographs will provide a lifelike representation.
For Carlo and Nora, getting to know the customer on a one-to-one basis is of utmost importance. They often leave customers with a small gift, such as a bookmark with a photo print or a 1-euro coin and instructions to throw it into the Trevi. “We would like to still believe that the shop experience is still up and running, especially in Rome,” Nora says. “There will always be tourists and they will always want to meet the city’s artists.” After all, you never know what a new encounter could lead to: for Nora and Carlo of TrevImage, it sparked the beginning of a profound connection, a successful business, and above all, a family.