Pierre-Emile-Joseph Pecarrere 1816-1904

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Biography

Considered one of the greatest photographers of the early 1850s, the identity of Em. Pec. has been shrouded in mystery, despite the abbreviated name Em. Pec. being included on many of his pictures, either inscribed on the negative or written on the mounts.

He was a lawyer in Paris who moved to Pau in 1854 to practice law and become a printer. He later returned to Paris in 1868 to continue law and later became partner in a sugar refinery. His interest in photography is noted since 1851 and Le Gray mentions him as one of his students in 1852. He was for a long time hypothesized to be either Edmond or Emmanuel Pec or Pecquerel. It was in 2002 that research by Anne de Mondenard truly identified the photographer as Pecarrere. Em Pec worked with calotypes with a predilection toward Roman and Gothic architecture including Chartres, Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, Arles, and Saint-Remy-de-Provence. Lerebours noted his views of Chartres cathedral - of which there are 25 thought to have been taken in a single afternoon - in the journal La Lumiere in 1852 in his mention of the improved waxed paper negative techniques. Pec also travels in Italy and Spain through 1851-1852. Most notable from this period was an album he printed of views of palms which was sold by Sotheby's in 2003. Another of a woman in prayer also taken in Spain is one of his few figure studies. He exhibited at least 49 salt prints to the Society of Arts in London in 1852 and offered nine images of Chartres to Prosper Merimee as part of a ceremony for the mission des monuments historiques the same year. After these two particularly intense years there is little evidence of Em Pec.

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