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Synopsis: This comprehensive book traces the origins and progression of photography from its humble beginnings in daguerreotypes to the gradual mastering of photographic portraits, techniques, and negatives. The wider use of photography in journalism, for documenting architecture and art movements, and its capacity to produce piercing perspectives on the social and political climate of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are all carefully evaluated, as well as the work of amateurs such as Zola who tried their hand at this revolutionary art form. Twenty-five years after the inauguration of France’s first permanent exhibition devoted solely to photography, the Musée d’Orsay continues in its innovative and original thread. This book bears testimony to the unique nature of the museum’s collection, noted for its rare finds, their quality, and the sheer number of works it holds (more than fifty-five thousand). The collection’s most-treasured works are exposed here, including a portrait of Baudelaire by Nadar and the recently acquired portrait of Man Ray by Stieglitz.

About the Author: Françoise Heilbrun is the head curator at the Musée d’Orsay and a leading specialist in the field of photography. She has written numerous works including Camera Work, Figures and Portraits, Landscape and Nature: Photography at Orsay, and Nadar. Guy Cogeval is the director of the Musée d’Orsay. Other contributors from the Musée d’Orsay staff include: Dominique de Font-Réaulx, Michel Frizot, Anne de Mondenard, Joelle Bolloch, and Hélene Bocard.

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