Within its archives, ECPAD keeps a set composed of 14,000 images, the fruit of the production of two brothers, both soldiers covering the period from around 1873 to 1922. Edgard Imbert (1873-1915) and his cadet Jules (1877-1922) practiced photography during their military missions. Jules was taken to visit Algeria and Tunisia and Edgard sets off to explore Madagascar and Tonkin.
The richness of this corpus offers the possibility of studying the history of French colonial expansion between 1900 and 1914, as well as the vision of a man on the populations encountered. It is the personality of Edgard Imbert, colonial infantry lieutenant, who shows through in this collection.
His photographs are exceptional in more ways than one, the author having been himself, by virtue of his functions, actor and privileged witness of military events at a time when there was still no official photographic service in the Armed Forces.
Born on December 19, 1873 in Cherbourg, Edgard Imbert joined the colonial troops in the early years of the century. Put at the disposal of General Gallieni, he went on a mission to Madagascar (1900-1902), where he was part of the Lyautey penetration column in the south of the country. He was promoted lieutenant in April 1901.
Designated to serve in Tonkin (1905-1908), he was in the 4th Colonial Infantry Regiment and his photographs illustrate, in the Yearbook of the Porpoise of 1910, the insurrectionary movement which took place in 1908 in Hanoi.
He then returned to Madagascar as Captain of the Senegalese Battalion (1912), then to the 2nd Malagasy Tirailleurs Regiment (1914).
He is very appreciated by Lyautey who says he is an excellent photographer. His pictures are published in postcards by Chatard in Madagascar, and illustrate several articles on the “pacification” of southern Madagascar, published in the Revue de Madagascar, in 1902.
Back in France, he was killed during the First World War on September 25, 1915, in Massiges, in the Marne.
Les albums d’Edgard Imbert
Entre regard militaire et mémoire de voyage
from November 15, 2019 to January 11, 2020
Le Carré d’Art Gallery – South Pole Cultural Center
1 rue de la Conterie – BP 37604
35131 Chartres de Bretagne cedex