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Photographer Giuseppe Cassar dies

Photographer and water-colourist Giuseppe Cassar, formerly of Cassar Photo Studio in Hamrun, died at the age of 85 at his residence in Attard on Saturday.

Many wedded couples will remember Mr Cassar at his studio heyday, when the practice then was for the newly-weds after nuptial Mass to go to Hamrun for their picture of the big day.

They had a choice of two studios: Cassar's and Blackman.

Times have changed - the photographers today run after the happy couple, accompanying them from early in the day to the end of the wedding reception, and the formal studio photograph has been done away with.

Mr Cassar, originally from Sliema, started drawing at the age of seven under the tutorship of Arturo Galdes. He attended St Aloysius' College in Birkirkara, from where he proceeded to the University of Rome in 1936 to study medicine.

After Italy's declaration of war he was interned throughout the war years until 1944, for refusing to give up his status as a British subject.

He was imprisoned at Regina Coeli (Rome), Poggioreale (Naples), Ventotene Island, Montechiarugolo (Parma) and Bagnolo-in-Piano (Reggio Emilia). During those years, Mr Cassar used to draw portraits of fellow prisoners who used to commission his work.

After Italy's capitulation, he managed to escape to the safety of Florence, with the help of partisan friends, including Alda Manghi, whom he married subsequently. In 1945 he returned to Malta, where he took over his father's photo studio in Hamrun, where he worked uninterruptedly as studio photographer until his retirement in 1981.

Since then, he developed his skills in water-colour painting, and after a number of successful one-man exhibitions in the 1980s and 1990s, at the Mdina Cathedral Museum and elsewhere, appreciation for his works increased, as they are considered to be a faithful documentation of the Maltese environment.

In 1946 Mr Cassar married Ms Manghi. She passed away four months ago. They are survived by two sons and a daughter.

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