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PhotoSaintGermain 2021 : Maison d’Auguste Comte : Fantographie : Images et traces de l’Invisible (1850-1950)


On the occasion of the 10th edition of the PhotoSaintGermain festival, the Maison d’Auguste Comte is hosting the exhibition Fantographie : Images et traces of the Invisible (1850-1950). Rare, even unprecedented, the images brought together for this event question the figure of the ghost and its representation in the social and artistic imagination. Coming from a rich set of private collections, these objects retrace, each in their own way, the history of “spirit photography”.

Somewhat forgotten today, this tradition, which appeared in the United States during the second half of the 19th century, was a resounding success with the public upon its arrival on the European continent. Strange coincidence, the term “spiritualism” first appeared under the pen of Allan Kardec in April 1857 in his famous Book of Spirits, a few months before the founder of positivism breathed his last. Along with the wave of seances sweeping across Europe at this time, the issue of communication with the dead found itself at the heart of new technical processes which then gave photography a dimension resolutely turned towards the occult. In the twilight of the workshops and dark rooms, some photographers, whether professional or amateur, attempted to capture the souls of the deceased by making the existence of a beyond tangible. However, whether they are the result of accidents or voluntary manipulations, these images retain, despite time, their power of suggestion and continue to challenge us, underlining in this way, as Roland Barthes had already noticed, the great proximity between the field of photography and that of magic.

Curators Emmanuelle Fructus and Philippe Baudouin


Fantographie, Images et traces de l’Invisible (1850 – 1950)

From November 4 to December 18, 2021

From November 4 to 20 as part of the PhotoSaintGermain festival, open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, then from November 23 to December 18, open at the museum’s usual hours (Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment you).

Maison d’Auguste Comte

10 rue Monsieur-Le-Prince 75006

01 43 26 08 56



November 4-20, 2021

@photosaintgermain #photosaintgermain




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