History of photography

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History of photography

Self-Portrait, c. 1855.
Salt print. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.


(b Paris, 8 April 1820; d Paris, 21 March 1910).

French photographer, printmaker, draughtsman, writer and balloonist. He was born into a family of printers and became familiar with the world of letters very early in life. He abandoned his study of medicine for journalism, working first in Lyon and then in Paris. In the 1840s Nadar moved in socialist, bohemian circles and developed strong republican convictions. Around this time he adopted the pseudonym Nadar (from ‘Tourne а dard’, a nickname he gained because of his talent for caricature).


For his friend Charles Baudelaire, Nadar personified ‘the most astonishing expression of vitality’. In 1845 he published his first novel, La Robe de Dejanira, and the following year he embarked on his career as a caricaturist, working for La Silhouette and Le Charivari and subsequently for the Revue comique (1848) and Charles Philipon’s Journal pour rire (1849), which later became the Journal amusant (1856). In London in 1863 Nadar discovered the drawings in Punch and met the illustrators Paul Gavarni and Constantin Guys, who became a friend. Nadar ended his career as a caricaturist in 1865, by which time he had become famous as a photographer.


George Sand, from Galerie Contemporaine, 1877.
Woodburyrype. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

Eugene Emmanuel Violet-le-Duc, from Galerie Contemporaine, 1878.
Woodburytype. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

Charles Baudelaire

Georges Boulanger

Georges Clemenceau

Camille Corot

Gustave Courbet

Charles-Francois Daubigny

Eugene Delacroix

Young Woman in Profile
c. 1859

Jules Favre in 1865

Leon Gambetta in 1870

Gustave Dore, 1859


Alexandre Dumas

Franz Liszt

Henri Rochefort


Ernest H. Shackleton

Adolphe Thiers

The former painter Charles Crodel with a scetch-book, 1905

Aime Millet , 1856-1858

A.-E. Scribe , 1856-1859

Self-Portrait , 1856-1858

Nadar's son, photographed by Nadar with members
of the Second Japanese Embassy to Europe in 1863.

Théophile Gautier

Jules Verne

Marquis de Galliffet, the fusilleur de la Commune

Finette of Mabille , 1855

Self-Portrait , 1856-1858

Madame Crémieux , 1856

Adolphe Crémieux , 1856

Theodore Rousseau , 1855-1859

Sarah Bernhardt as Phedre in Racine's "Phaedra"

Mme E. M. Labiche , 1855-1859

Victor Hugo on His Deathbed

Theophile Gautier , 1855

Mére Marie Jamet

J.-F. Berthelier , 1855-1859

Pierrot the Photographer



Peter Kropotkin

Jules Janin , 1853-1854

Marceline D.-V. , 1854

Mme. E. Nadar , 1854-1855

Auguste Préault , 1854-1855

Emile Augier , 1855 - 1857

Auguste Luchet , 1855-1859

Gustave Mathieu , 1855-1859

Alphonse Daudet

Ilja Iljitsch Metschnikow

The Photographer's Wife

Jean-François Millet

The Catacombs

The Sewers

The Arc de Triomphe and the Grand Boulevards, Paris, from a Balloon, 1868.
Modem gelatin silver print from the original negative. Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites, Paris.

Workmen in the Pans Catacombs, 1861.
Albumen print. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

Le Bris and his flying machine, Albatros II


Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt, 1865.
Albumen print. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt as Theodora

Sarah Bernhardt as Theodora