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8 March 1831|
|Died||9 April 1885
|Years active||especially from 1867 to his death|
|Known for||early Middle East photography|
Félix Bonfils (8 March 1831 – 1885) was a French photographer and writer who was active in the Middle East.
He was born in Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort and died in Alès. Félix worked as a bookbinder but in 1860 he joined General d'Hautpoul's expedition to the Levant. Soon after returning from Lebanon he became a photographer. When his son Adrien fell ill, Félix remembered the green hills around Beirut and sent him there to recover, being accompanied by Marie-Lydie Cabanis Bonfils, Félix's wife. The family moved to Beirut in 1867 where they opened a photographic studio called "Maison Bonfils".
Maison Bonfils produced thousands of photographs of the Middle East. They photographed posed scenes, dressed up in Middle Eastern regalia, and also stories from the Bible. Their studio became "F. Bonfils et Cie" in 1878. Bonfils took photographs in Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Greece and Constantinople (now Istanbul).
In 1872 he published the album Architecture Antique (by Ducher press) after presenting some of his pictures to the Société française de photographie. His work became well known for the tourists that travelled to those countries because they bought their photos as souvenirs. He later opened another studio in Alès (France).
”The Image of the East: Nineteenth-Century Near-Eastern Photographs by Bonfils” by Gavin (Carney E.S.). From the Collection of the Harvard Semitic Museum, Chicago/London. University of Chicago Press, 1982.
- "Aerial Panoramic View of Beirut". World Digital Library. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- Szegedy-Maszak, Andrew (May–June 2001). "The Genius of Félix Bonfils". Archaeology. 54 (3).
- "Collections Search Center, Smithsonian Institution". Collections.si.edu. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Félix Bonfils.|
- Canadian Centre for Architecture; Collections Online, s.v. "Bonfils, Félix", cited 31 January 2011
- Union List of Artists Names, s.v. "Bonfils, Félix", cited 6 February 2006
- Images by Bonfils
- The Bonfils Story: A Legacy Of Light
- Collection of photos by Bonfils
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