Bacot was part of a school of photographers based in Normandy.
He studied in the studio of Paul Delaroche alongside Charles Negre and Gustave Le Gray at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and initially exhibited as a painter before taking up photography. He set up his practice at Caen, close to Humbert de Molard and Alphonse de Brebisson, and worked in numerous techniques from daguerreotypy to albumen.
In 1852, he met Victor Hugo on the Isle of Jersey after which he gave photography courses to the writer's son, Charles. Hugo described Bacot's photographs of Gothic cathedrals as "marvels" and later wrote to Bacot, "I congratulate the sun for having a collaborator such as you." Hugo's love for these photographs clearly stemmed from his own romantic views of the medieval.
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