Charles Nègre was born in Grasse in 1820 into a prosperous family of confectioners. A student of painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, like many of his classmates, Charles Nègre was hard hit by the unidentified object that was Photography at the time.
He is among the first to perceive the new possibilities and he explores with curiosity the still obscure links between photographed images and painted images. He is fully involved in this “photographic revolution” of which Victor Hugo speaks with clairvoyance in his correspondence. Revolution, because the representation of the world in the consciences will never be the same again!
Thanks to his gaze inherited from painting, the first successes of Charles Nègre classified him in the category of artist photographers. This should not obscure his patient technical work. Seeing the rapid degradation of photographic prints due to unstable silver salts, he does not hesitate to transform himself into a laboratory researcher, convinced that the solution is to replace this substrate with ink. Thus, in the second half of the 1850s, he brought heliogravure printing to the highest degree of perfection, paving the way for printed photography.
Basically, if Charles Nègre occupies a major place in the history of art, it is of course for his photographs of the 1850s, but it is just as much – if not more for the recognition of a singular visionary itinerary, that inaugurates the current times of multiplication and distribution of images, as well as his uncertainties as to their conservation. This book is essential to better understand the history of photography from its origins and the biography of one of its master founders, although not yet sufficiently recognized.
Charles Nègre – “la révolution photographique”
Alain Sabatier et Christian Zerry
Size 240 mm x 300 mm
232 pages, 300 illustrations. hardcover with dust jacket.
ISBN 9 782369 930655
Public price : 35 €
Sale in all French bookstores or by mail order at Campanile Editions