Louis Vignes 1831-1896
Louis Vignes entered the Naval Academy in 1846 and had a distinguished career in the Navy; he left with the rank of admiral. Photography represented just one episode in his life, linked to the Duke of Luynes (1802-1867), an eminent archaeologist, numismatist and collector of art, whom he accompanied to Lebanon, Syria and Palestine in 1864. He had previously produced calotypes from June 1859 to October 1862 in Morocco, Sicily, Beirut and Lebanon. It is by virtue of this initial experience that he was approached to accompany the Duke in an archaeological journey that led from Beirut to Palmyra through Jerash and various other archaeological sites. The Duke, with an interest in photography since its inception, presumably could have photographed the sites himself but chose instead someone whose company he enjoyed.
The result of this choice is reflected in the quality of Louis Vignes' prints. The technical quality of the prints is strange and was probably the result of chemical problems caused by working in a hot climate.
Vignes took over a hundred photographs as is evidenced by an album in the collection of the Bibliotecque National de Paris (BNP).
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