Photographer of the Day: Nadar


b. 1820 d. 1910

Today’s Photographer of the Day is Nadar, lesser known as Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, one of the most famous early photographers and an overall outstanding human being. He didn’t just take pictures, but he was also a caricaturist and an aviation enthusiast– perhaps one of the first. He was also homies with Jules Verne, and anyone who is friends with Jules Verne is a friend of mine.

So, let’s begin with the most important thing:


Nadar was well known for taking aerial photographs of Paris from his own personal balloon.

I seriously can’t handle this guy. He took many portraits of people who are considered famous today, and man, he also had a good time doing it.

Photograph of Michel Eugène Chevreul with, I think, Nadar. I know that hair anywhere.

This elegant yet risque portrait of Sarah Bernhardt probz has a good story.

Sarah Bernhardt, Pierrot dans la pantonime– I wonder what conversation preceded this gem. “Hey. Sarah, wanna clown around?”

“Nadar pls.”

“No, really, here’s a clown suit.”

I wonder if this guy, Caran d’Ache, was trying to be serious here. And Nadar was like “Nah, let’s make this ridic because trollin'”

Also, Nadar liked to take self portraits. In his balloon. That was “flying” in his studio.

I would seriously love to be besties with Nadar. Home boy was the coolest. Let me prove how cool he was with a story:

My home boy Nadar loved balloons, so he asked this one guy to build him a hella big balloon. Apparently, Nadar’s homie Jules Verne was inspired by this and wrote Five Weeks in a Balloon. Sadly, the balloon was damaged after the second flight. What’s crazy to me was Nadar was like: “You know the future of flying? Heavier than air machines. Because science.” And, since Verne and Nadar had the greatest bromance of all time, they created “The Society for the Encouragement of Aerial Locomotion by Means of Heavier than Air Machines.” That’s a mouthful. I guess it could be TSFTEOALBMOHTAM for short. But I think sneezing would also work.

Nadar was also the first person to use artificial light in photography, since he was bein’ his self, takin’ photos in the catacombs because you only live once, right?

He also lent his studio to the Impressionists for their first ever exhibition. Did I mention home boy was the coolest?

I mean, I’d be friends with him:

Work it, Naddie.

That’s all for Nadar, the original MVP. The next PotD will be Catherine Opie, so keep an eye out for that gem.

Happy Shooting!

Photographer of the Day: Hippolyte Bayard

Hippolyte Bayard 

b. 1801, d. 1887

A little perspective before we begin: My homeboy Hippolyte here was born before photography was even invented. So we’re kickin’ it old school for today’s PotD.

Hippolyte did something cool. You see, my homeboy Hippolyte created the first ever fictional image, and the reason why he did it is super metal. Or it was the most creative photographic tantrum in early photography history. Whichever.

If you know anything about photography history, you know about Daguerre, but in case you don’t I’ll give you an explanation as to why this guy is important: he was the first person recognized for “inventing” photography. What that means is the dude got his idea of printing positive images on treated metal surfaces (think mirror,) patented first. Now, Hippolyte also had an idea for printing images, and that was a positive image on paper. But, no one cared. The recognition for inventing photography was given to Daguerre, and Hippolyte was left in the dark.

No one cared.

So he made a self portrait of himself looking like death warmed over, calling his picture “The Drowned Man.” Nothing says “YO LOOK AT ME I DID A THING TOO,” like creating an entire genre of photography and taking a selfie as a dead man, circa 1840.

There are some interpretations to his infamous image, like how the hat on the left is symbolic of the sun or whatever, but I’ll leave it to you, since most of his images are up to interpretation. Why ruin the fun? He’d want you to have fun– doesn’t he seem like a fun guy at parties?

And that’s it for my homeboy Hippolyte Bayard. The next photographer of the day is one of my favorite ladies, Julia Margaret Cameron. Keep an eye out!

Happy Shooting!