Gustave Le Gray


    • Male

    About the artist

    Born in 1820 in Villiers-le-Bel, France
    1884: Died in El Cairo

    Gustave Le Gray (1820–1884) was the central figure in French photography of the 1850s—an artist of the first order, a teacher, and the author of several widely distributed instructional manuals. Born the only child of a haberdasher in 1820 in the outskirts of Paris, 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." In that volume, Le Gray outlined a variation of William Henry Fox Talbot's process calling for the paper negatives to be waxed prior to sensitization, thereby yielding a crisper image.

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