12
Dec
08

MAISON BONFILS: FÉLIX (active 1864-1885)

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Bonfils was a family firm of French photographers, Félix Bonfils (1831-1886), his son Adrien Bonfils (1860-1929) and finally Lydie Bonfils née Marie Lydie Cabanis (1837-1918), wife of Félix and mother of Adrien.

Born March 8, 1831 in Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort, France, Paul Félix Bonfils began his professional life as a bookbinder and printer, specializing in heliogravures (photoengravings). In 1860 he traveled to the Lebanon with the expeditionary corps of Napoleon III. After his return to France he became a professional photographer in Alès. In 1867 he was the first French photographer, and one of the first European photographers, to settle in the Near East, establishing a studio in Beirut, a city of the Ottoman Empire. He had a particular interest in architectural photography of historical significance, and photographed throughout the Near East, Egypt, and Greece. Within a short period he established international business connections through agents and colleagues in Cairo, Alexandria, Paris, Alès, and London.

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1984 Computer portrait from State Fair

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