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October 20, 2017

Amazing Portrait Photography by Gustave Le Gray From the Mid-19th Century

Gustave Le Gray (1820 – 1884) has been called "the most important French photographer of the nineteenth century" because of his technical innovations in the still new medium of photography, his role as the teacher of other noted photographers, and the extraordinary imagination he brought to picture making.

Le Gray studied painting in the studio of Paul Delaroche, and made his first daguerreotypes by at least 1847. His real contributions—artistically and technically—however, came in the realm of paper photography, in which he first experimented in 1848. The first of his four treatises, published in 1850, boldly—and correctly—asserted that "the entire future of photography is on paper."

Here is an amazing collection of portrait photos that Le Gray took from the mid-19th century. Most of them are celebrities and famous people.

An Italian street musician, 1856

Auguste Clésinger, sculpteur, 1848

Céline Cerf, muse of fifteen and a half years, 1848

Empress Eugénie (1826-1920), wife of Emperor Napoleon III, 1856

Empress Eugénie (1826-1920), wife of Emperor Napoleon III, 1856

Frédéric Buisson, composer and dandy, 1848

French author, historian and journalist Pierre-Michel-François Chevalier, 1853

French writer Alexandre Dumas, 1859

Gioachino Rossini, Italian composer, circa 1856

Giuseppe Garibaldi, Palermo, 1860

Gustave le Gray self-portrait with his Daguerreotype camera, 1847

Gustave Le Gray, 1854

Jean-Baptiste Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) self-portrait, 1852

Lodoisch Crette Romet, 'A Lesson of Gustave Le Gray in His Studio', 1854

Louis-Napoléon, Prince President of the French Republic, 1852

Marguerite Palace, fiancée in mourning, 1848

Palmira Le Gray, 1848

Portrait of a man, 1856

Portrait of French painter and photographer Henri Le Secq, 1848

Portrait of French painter Hippolyte Flandrin, 1848

Portrait of French photographer Félix Nadar, 1854

Portrait of General Istvàn Türr, 1860

Portrait of two children, Paris, 1848


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