Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Historical Photographer Presentation: Gustave Le Gray

A French photographer (originally a painter) born in 1820, died in 1884. During his time photography was still a new medium for artists to work with. He is known for his innovations and teaching of the medium.

He was of a few elite photographers hired by the French government to document French buildings and architecture in the 1850s. At the same time he also helped to found the Societe Heliographique, which was the first photographic organization in the world.

In the mid 1850s he opened a studio and developed in to a portraitist, which included being the photographer for Napoleon III. Despite his artistic success, his business failed and when it went in to debt he abandoned his family and fled in order to avoid creditors. After moving to Lebanon and then Syria, Le Gray finally settled down in Cairo where he most likely spent his last days.

His most famous works are those of French monuments and buildings, portraits, and seascapes such as the images below.

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