Dr Martina Caruso


Research activity

Since gaining a Ph.D. at the Courtauld Institute of Art on Italian humanist photography (2013), Martina is interested in 19th and 20th century photography, art and print media with a focus on visual cultures connected to Italy. Her research areas and periods include the Fascist regime, the Cold War, anti-Americanism, imperialism, decolonisation, gender and landscape photography, counterculture and extremisms. Her current project is about the use of identity photography by the fascist police with regard to the nationalisation of the inhabitants of Istria and Dalmatia and the criminalisation of Yugoslav partisans in the Adriatic borderlands.

Research areas and keywords

Art History, Photography History, Communism, Fascism, the Cold War, Counterculture

Selected publications

Books and Exhibition Catalogues

Caruso, Martina. 2016. Italian Humanist Photography from Fascism to the Cold War. Bloomsbury: London.

Caruso, Martina, ed. 2014. Giulio Turcato, exh. cat., Casa Italian New York University. De Luca editore: Rome.

Caruso, Martina, ed. 2014. My Sister Who Travels, exh. cat., The Mosaic Rooms: London.


Caruso, Martina. 2023 [forthcoming]. ‘Reshaping National Identity through Primitivism in Italian Visual Countercultures’, Römisches Jahrbuch: Rome.

Caruso, Martina. 2023 [forthcoming]. ‘Agnes and Dora Bulwer’s Landscape Photographs of Post-Risorgimento Italy’, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz: Florence.

Caruso, Martina. 2022. ‘Agnes and Dora Bulwer’s Photographs of Everyday Italians’ in The Idea of Italy. Photography and the British Imagination, 1840-1900, eds. A. Pelizzari and S. Wilcox, Yale University Press, pp. 222 – 227.

Caruso, Martina. 2019. ‘Conversing with Ghosts of the Previously Tamed: lens-based media technologies and non-human animals in the work of Christoph Keller, Corinne Silva and Basma Alsharif’ in ESPACE art actuel ‘Point de vue animal/Animal Point of View’, no. 121 (Winter), pp. 28 – 33.

Caruso, Martina. 2019. ‘Human Sacrifice: The Scapegoat in Partisan Photographs at the End of the Italian Civil War’ in Photography and Power, eds. M. Andreani and M. Purpura. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 192 – 294.

Caruso, Martina. 2016. ‘Iconic Images in Modern Italy: Politics, Culture and Society: Introduction’, Modern Italy (Special Issue), eds. A. Antola Swan and M. Caruso. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, issue 21.4.

Caruso, Martina. 2016. ‘Rocks & Fortresses’ in Photographic Research, ed. D. Wooldridge. Camberwell University of the Arts: London.

Caruso, Martina. 2012. ‘Humanist Photography’ in Photography: The Whole Story, ed. J. Hacking. Thames & Hudson: London.

Caruso, Martina. 2011. ‘Counter-regime Photography Under Fascism’ in Visual Conflicts: On the Formation of Political Memory in the History of Art and Visual Cultures, eds. P. Fox and G. Pasternak. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle upon Tyne, 113 – 138.


Caruso, Martina. 2022. ‘Photographing Mussolini. The Making of a Political Icon by A. Antola Swan’, in Italia Contemporanea n. 297, pp. 293 - 295.

Caruso, Martina. 2021. ‘Italian Modern Art in the Age of Fascism by Anthony White’ in Australia and New Zealand Journal of Art, vol 21, n. 2, pp. 291 – 294.

Caruso, Martina. 2014. ‘Recreating first contact: Expeditions, anthropology, and popular culture by Joshua A. Bell et al.’ in Visual Studies.Taylor & Francis Online.

Caruso, Martina. 2014. ‘Contesting Views: The Visual Economy of France and Algeria by Edward Welch and Joseph McGonagle’ in Visual Studies. Taylor & Francis Online.

Caruso, Martina. 2012. ‘Photography and Italy by Maria Antonella Pelizzari’ in History of Photography vol. 36, n. 1.

Selected projects

‘Reshaping National Identity through Primitivism in Italian Visual Countercultures’, Weddigen Department, Bibliotheca Hertziana Rome – Max Planck Institute, 2021 – 2022.

‘Anti-americanism and Cold War Conspiracies in French and Italian Painting of the Korean War’, Weddigen Department, Bibliotheca Hertziana Rome – Max Planck Institute, 2021.

‘Invisible Archives: Agnes and Dora Bulwer’s Archaeological Photographs in the Mediterranean’, British School at Rome, 2018 – 2020.


Counterculture Fellow, 2021 – 2022, Weddigen Department, Bibliotheca Hertziana Rome – Max Planck Institute

Rome, Italy

Paris x Rome Fellow, 2021, Weddigen Department, BHR-MPI, Rome, Italy and Deutsches Forum fur Kunstgeschichte – Max Weber Foundation, Paris, France

Assistant Director for Fine Arts, Architecture and the Creative Industries, 2018 – 2020

British School at Rome, Rome, Italy

Assistant Lecturer, History of Photography and Modern Rome and its Monuments, 2016 – 2018

Art History Department John Cabot University, Rome, Italy

Assistant Lecturer, Contextual Studies, 2015 – 2017, Photography Department, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London

London, UK

Visiting Lecturer, Photography and Propaganda, 2015, Institut français de presse, Panthéon-Assas, Paris II,Paris, France

Assistant Lecturer, Media Communications and Media Cultural Studies, 2013, London College of Communication, University of the Art London, London, UK

Assistant Lecturer, Contextual Studies, 2012 – 2013, Fine Art Photography, Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London, London, UK

PhD, 2013, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK

MA, 2007, Courtauld Institute of Art, Postmodernism and Postcommunism in Europe and beyond (Prof. Sarah Wilson), London, UK

MA, 2002, University College London, Comparative Literature, London, UK

BA, 2001, University of Oxford, English and French, Oxford, UK

Languages: English, French, Italian


Martina’s work has received support from the Paul Mellon Centre, the Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Photographic Research, the Scouloudi Foundation, the Steve and Elena Heinz Scholarship and the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation.