Louis Lafon Construction of Iron Railroad Trestle
Medium Albumen print
Photo Date 1870s Print Date 1870s
Dimensions 8-1/8 x 10-9/16 in. (206 x 268 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Name of photographer reversed out of the negative at the bottom right recto of the print.
The French photographer Louis Lafon photographed primarily industrial and architectural subjects, and won a medal for his submissions to the 1874 exhibition of the Société Française de Photographie. He made later salt prints of elegant porcelain pieces from the Faïencerie of Choisy-le-Roi.
In 1870 Lafon was commissioned to document the Hotchkiss line of military equipment. Lafon's work differs from many product albums of the day as his showed the goods in operation; his photographs showed French soldiers and sailors demonstrating the guns in action.
He also took photographs of the Paris Commune of 1871. Unlike many other photographers, Lafon's work is more purely documentary, avoiding the picturesque qualities of other photographers to focus on the straightforward devastation instead.
In 1878 he produced images for the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l'Ouest and in 1879 the Dol-de-Bretagne-Lamballe Railway. His large photographs of construction on the bridges and viaducts for the railroad companies are extraordinary, ranging up to mammoth-plate size.
His studio was located on rue de Belleville in Paris.
His work is in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Museum of Modern Art, George Eastman House, Princeton University Library, New York Public Library and Boston Museum of Fine Arts, among others.
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