Archive for December 14th, 2008
Born near Lyons, France in 1828, the traveler and amateur archeologist Désiré Charnay came to America at an early age – he was teaching French in New Orleans at the age of 17. Inspired by John Lloyd Stephen’s accounts, he made his first trip to Mexico in 1857 where he was inspired by the exotic scenery. Initially Charnay focussed on photography, of which he was a pioneer, documenting the ubiquitous ruins that littered the ancient sites of Mexico.
Maxime Du Camp
Du Camp learned calotyping from Gustave Le Gray and in 1849 persuaded the French Ministry of Education to send him on a photographic tour of archeological sites, accompanied by the novelist Gustave Flaubert. Du Camp focused on photographing the pyramids, the sphinx and other Egyptian monuments. On their twenty-one-month tour, Du Camp made 220 calotypes, 125 of which were printed by Louis-Desire Blanquart-Evrard and published as Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie, the first book about the Middle East illustrated with actual photographs. After his return, Du Camp gave up photography and devoted his time to writing.