François-Edmond Fortier

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François-Edmond Fortier (1862, Celles-sur-Plaine, France – 8 February 1928, Dakar) was a French documentary photographer, editor and ethnographer.

He published over 3000 postcards of French West Africa (Afrique Occidentale Française). These were published during his lifetime, with or without his permission, in more than 10 books. Postcards and reprints can be found in several collections all over the world.


« Sénégal. Les circoncis » (taken c. 1910)

Born in the tiny village of Celles-sur-Plaine in the Vosges, France in 1862, François-Edmond Fortier lived for several years in Saint-Louis, Senegal then moved to Dakar in 1900.

In 1902 to 1903, he explored Fouta-Djalon, then Haute-Guinée. In 1905-1906, he travelled in Soudan Français, Kankan, Bamako, Djenné and Tombouctou.

François-Edmond Fortier spent his late years in his shop on the corner of Boulevard Pinet-Laprade/Rue Dagornein the Médina de Dakar. He was a small man, blonde, with little beard "pointu" and always wore a pointed military topi. He had a favourite remark “Le Cantal?… mon berceau, Dakar mon tombeau!” (The Cantal my cradle, Dakar.. my tomb)


  • Philippe David, Inventaire général des cartes postales Fortier, Paris : s.n., 1986–1988, 3 vol. ; vol. I : Sénégal - Guinée, 1900–1905 ; vol. II : Sénégal- Mauritanie, Guinée, Soudan, Côte d'Ivoire, Dahomey, Lagos, 1906–1910 ; vol. 3 : 1912-1920.
  • Philippe David, La carte postale sénégalaise au service de l'histoire, Notes africaines, n° 179, juillet 1983, p. 41-51
  • Patricia Hickling, "The Early Photographs of Edmond Fortier: Documenting Postcards from Senegal", African Research and Documentation 102, 2007, pp. 37–53.
  • Gwenaëlle Trolez, L'explorateur, le photographe et le missionnaire, Magellan & Cie, Paris, 2007, 96 p.

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