Henri Le Secq
|Henri Le Secq des Tournelles|
Portrait of Henri Le Secq by Gustave Le Gray
18 August 1818|
|Died||26 December 1882
|Occupation||Photographer, Painter, Sculptor, Collector|
Jean-Louis-Henri Le Secq des Tournelles (18 August 1818 – 26 December 1882) was a French painter and photographer. After the French government made the daguerreotype open for public in 1839, Le Secq was one of the five photographers selected to carry out a photographic survey of architecture (Commission des Monuments Historiques).
Jean-Louis-Henri Le Secq des Tournelles was born in 1818 in Paris from a ancient noble family from Normandy. His father was a politician. He was trained in sculpture and worked in several studios. He was also a collector of wrought iron objects and the Musée le Secq des Tournelles in Rouen is devoted to him. He later started his photographic career under Paul Delaroche.
He experimented with various photograph processing techniques together with his colleague Charles Nègre and later worked with Gustave Le Gray learning the waxed-paper negative process. This process had the advantage that it produced negatives unlike the daguerreotype process. He, along with Hippolyte Bayard, Edouard Baldus, Gustave Le Gray and O Mestral, was sent on Missions Héliographiques to document famous architectural monuments in France. He worked mainly on cathedrals in Chartres, Strasbourg, Reims and near Paris. Cameras capable of taking large photographs, size of 51 cm by 74 cm, were used. His works during this Commission des Monuments Historiques are considered to be his finest works. In 1851 he became one of the founders of the first photographic organization of the world, unfortunately very short lived, Société héliographique (1851–1853).
He gave up photography after 1856 but continued to paint and collect art. Around 1870 he started reprinting his famous works as cyanotypes as he was afraid of possible loss due to fading. He gave the reprints dates of the original negatives, some of which are still in good condition.
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- Ware, Mike. Cyanotype : The history, science and art of photographic printing in Prussian blue. ISBN 1-900747-07-3.
- Janis, Eugenia Parry, and Josianne Sartre. Henri Le Secq; Photographe de 1850 a 1860. Catalogue Raisonné de la Collection de la Bibliothèque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris 1986 ISBN 2-08-012056-5
- Chartres & Prose Poems. With photographs by Henri Le Secq. NY: The Eakins Press, 1970
- Antic de Mondenard, La Mission heliographique, Cinq photographes parcourent la France en 1851, published by Monum, editions du patrimoine, France, 2002
- Shelly, Rice (1999). Parisian views. MIT Press. p. 288. ISBN 0-262-68107-2.
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