View Full Version : Emile Frechon

Matthew Runde
13-Mar-2002, 14:08
I would like to share a discovery with you, the helpful members of this forum, a nd I would like to have your thoughts on it.

I have come across photographs by Emile Frechon, a French photographer who photo graphed in Algeria around the 1900s. I know that he photographed in France, too , but I am most interested in his photographs of Algeria.

I am intrigued by the way in which his photographs seem to glow. I read that he printed with gold, which may account for that fact. I am also intrigued by how otherworldly Algeria and other places look in his photographs; the light looks like a Biblical painting, and seems to be present in every part of the photograp hs, including the shadows.

I have seen only a handful of his photographs on the Internet. Here are a few:


http://gallery19th21st.free.fr/19e/pages%2019e/pages-images/page1-19e/Frechon02. htm

http://www.iphotocentral.com/search/full_image.php?uSID=3142de4f8d59b597454660fd 505b85b1&myNum=0&strImg=..%2FPhotos%2FVintageWorks_Images%2FFull%2F3525Frechonbo ats.JPG&iID=970 .

Again, I would like to know what you think of his photographs. If you know mor about him, I would appreciate that, too.

Thank you!

Natha Congdon
13-Mar-2002, 15:53
The photos are lovely. They are all identified as silver images, though obviously heavily toned. Usually gold toning cools a silver image, though there are exceptions to this when gold is combined with other toners. Others may have a better idea what toning was used by looking at the shots. One shot is identified as "silver pigment," which is a completely unknown process to me, and might be a mis- translation from French for all I know.

Good luck in your search,


echard wheeler
13-Mar-2002, 19:26
looks like albumen. it's a silver handcoating process. beautiful stuff!

regards ec

14-Mar-2002, 01:24
Beautiful work... Ah, those 100 + years old lenses... those emulsions...

14-Mar-2002, 11:02
I think the photos are quite nice, but my 6 year old laptop screen does not do justice to the subtle hues of what may be albumen prints.

As a side note, in case you really want to dig into the subject of albumen and such closely related print-out techniques, check out this site for more in-depth studies of it: http://albumen.stanford.edu/library/monographs/reilly/index.html

It's one of the best examples of how one can produce an electronic version of an out-of-print book. Lovely, IMO. Just makes me want to get to grips with eggs and chemicals. :)

27-Mar-2004, 07:00
Emile FRECHON was born in 1848 and died in 1921. His brother was a famous french painter (Ecole of Normandie) and he began as a journalist. He becomes later the second most important pictorialist french photographer after 1885 (after Robert DEMACHY) and followed the english Emerson theory of naturalism. He photographs fisrt fishermen of Normandie and countrymen of Picardie in North of France. He was then called the MILLET of the photoraphy.In 1887 he discovered Algeria and decided to spend al the winters in this country ad speccially in Biskra where he works for then photographand publisher Jules Gervais Courtellement (see Algerie pitoresque et artistique 1892, special issue about Biskra with texts and photographies of himself). He was rediscoverd in France by the parisian galery "Au grenier sur l'eau" which is now closed, but you can see many of his photographies and his biographie on the site: www.photos-site.com His photographies were also edited in postcards till the 1960s! I showed some of them (modern colored versions) in my website: www.lehnert-landrockmania.fr.st I personnaly get 5 of his photographies which are argentic on gold salt vergé paper which gives to the picture a red-sepia tone. Other photographies (more common and less interesting are albumen versions on thin paper). FRECHON "speciality" was "contre-jours" photographies with a very sophiticated use of thelight and a reworking on the negatives to make the photo close to a painting... Hope you are satisfied by all these details!

Michel MEGNIN, Paris

6-May-2005, 09:25
Some Frechon's photos can also be seen on the site :
or in the gallery L'ILE AUX IMAGES located in Paris.

The adress is : 51-53 rue Saint-louis-en-L'île - 75004 PARIS

This Galerie (which is still open) was part of the former gallery "A l'image du grenier sur l'eau" (which is closed now).

Enjoy your trip in Paris :-)

Nigel Ingram
15-Jan-2006, 02:12
Can't help with technical details / biography of Emile Frechon, but I've just noticed some of his Algerian images in the book The Desert (Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, published Thames & Hudson, 2000, ISBN 0-500-97491-8). Does anyone know a) where online I can buy poster reproductions of his desert images b) if there is a good monogram book currently in print about his life and work? Thanks.