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Figures and Portraits: Photography at the Musé d’Orsay 
 
  
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Product Details 
  
 
Paperback 
96 pages 
5 Continents Editions 
Published 2006 
  
The early photographers had to grapple with the problem of reproducing the human figure to make a portrait. In the beginning they used a relatively slow, restrictive technique. The collections of the Musée d’Orsay provide an accurate chronology of the development of portraiture in international photography from 1850 to 1914, both stylistically and thematically (official portraits, artists, actresses, intimate portraits). French photographer Félix Nadar (1820-1910) created the model for a portrait of an artist or celebrity through his treatment of the silhouette and how he lit the sitter’s face. After 1855, when card portraits came into vogue, competition between studios was fierce and left little time for artistic considerations. The most remarkable portraits were then produced privately by amateur photographers.  
  
At the turn of the nineteenth century, the rules of portraiture and figure photography exploded when lightweight cameras came on the market, fitted with instant film which permitted unaccustomed angles. Mass photography was born and opened a boundless field for subject matter.
 
  
 
 
  
 
  
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