Pietro Marubi (1834 – 1903) was an Italian painter and photographer who, as a supporter of Garibaldi, had emigrated from Piacenza, Italy, to Shkodra for political reasons around the year 1850. There, he founded a photo business, Foto Marubi, with cameras he had brought with him, using the wet plate collodion process, the standard method of photography across Europe.
The oldest photos in the collection date from 1858-1859. Some of them were published in The London Illustrated News, the La Guerra d’Oriente and L’Illustration.
Marubi was assisted by the young Rrok Kodheli (1862–1881) and his brother, Kel Kodheli (1870–1940), the latter of whom took over the family business after Pietro’s death and changed his name to Kel Marubi. He furthered techniques with special effects and learned to retouch the negatives. He also began photographing outside the studio with more advanced cameras.
The Marubi Photo Collection (Fototeka Marubi) in Shkodra comprises over 500,000 photos, many of which are of great historical, artistic and cultural significance. It was compiled by three generations of photographers: Pietro, Kel and Gegë Marubi.