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Roger-Viollet Agency : Henri Roger, the father of Hélène Roger-Viollet


Henri Roger was born in 1869. He took his first photograph at the age of eleven. In is twenties, and already a young engineer, he became one of the precursors of photographic special effects. His first work was a series of self-portraits. The first, “Man and his double” dates from 1892. In the 1890s, he used his whole family for his fanciful staging of bourgeois life. Even his engagement with Jeanne Viollet, daughter of the director of the Law Faculty Library, was dramatized. Henri Roger climbed up the lightening rod to be photographed there. Beginning in 1901, the birth of his children provided him with a reserve of models: every photograph captured a moment of daily life, making it touching or improbable, such as the six children becoming twelve by the magic of special effects! he introduced Hélène, his oldest daughter (1901-1985) to photography, she maintained a lasting passion for it and thus  founded the Agency Roger-Viollet. World War II marked a painful rupture in Henri Roger’s photographic production. After the death of his wife and his son, he turned away from facetious photography, photographing his family’s daily life and Parisian life more traditionally, as well as photographing during travels that took him further and further away. He died in 1946. Henri Roger’s photographs are part of the original “founding collections” of the Roger-Viollet agency, which was created in 1938.


Agence Roger-Viollet

6, rue de Seine 75006 Paris

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