Groupe Pris dans une rue de Canton Itier, Jules  (French, 1805-1877)

The earliest remaining known photographs of China were taken by Jules Itier, a Frenchman who traveled to China in the 1840s as part of a diplomatic mission sent by King Louis-Philippe. This image was taken in 1844 in Tourane (pres-ent-day Da Nang)

In November 1844, Jules Itier notes in his diary…Even today I found accommodating Chinese people who agreed to form motionless groups, on condition of first seeing the image reflected on the frosted glass. They had…this vague curiosity that children feel at the sight of a new object; it is that there are many objects that only surprise scientists, that meditative minds, and daguerreotype phenomena are in this category. [1]

Link to original held at the Musée Francais de la Photographie:

Pierre Brochet (1922-2016) was a French photographer, printer and educator. He specialized in antiquarian photographic processes and in the early 1980s played a significant role in the revival of photogravure in France. In 1985 Brochet started the L’association pour la photographie ancienne (APA) which specializes in the study and the practice of the antiquarian photographic processes, especially photogravure. Over the course of his career Brochet, in addition to his own work, executed photogravure projects for many institutions including the Musée Carnavalet, Fondation Claude Monet, Centre National Pompidou and from photographs by a whose who of French photographers including Nègre, Atget, Boubat, Puyo, Salgado and many others. Brochet’s atelier was located in his home in Beaumont-du-Gâtinais, France.


[1] Journal of a trip to China in 1843, 1844, 1845, 1846, First volume, Paris, Dauvin and Fontaine, 1848, p.331