By: Michaela Skalski

"When I Was a Photogrpher" - Félix Nadar

Michaela Skalski


Ms. Orloff

French Culture Analysis

“When I Was a Photographer” is a short story about Félix Nadar’s journey through taking the first aerial photographs, his descent into the sewers experimenting with artificial lights, and sharing his photographs. Félix Nadar is a nineteenth-century photographer who had amazing visions about pictures and sharing them with everybody.

Nadar was a tireless innovator. In 1855 he patented the idea of using aerial photographs in mapmaking and surveying. It was not until 1858 when he was able to make a successful aerial photograph the world’s first from a balloon. In 1858 Nadar started to photograph with electric light, making a series of photographs of Paris sewers. In 1886, he made the first “photo interview,” a series of 21 photographs of the French scientist Michel-Eugène Chevreul in conversation. Each picture was captioned with Chevreul’s responses to Nadar’s questions, giving a vivid impression of the scientist’s personality. His book talks about all of this and more. Félix Nadar was an amazing French photographer who wanted to try to do what everybody thought was impossible.

Biography of Félix Nadar

Félix Nadar was the first man to take a aerial photograph. Félix was also the first man to take a picture interview, Félix had also taken many electric light photos in the sewers. All of this happened in the time frame of 1854-1890

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Nadar's book cover