Originally trained as a painter, engraver, and illustrator, Charles Marville became known as a landscape and architecture photographer. He traveled to Italy, Germany, and Algeria and used both paper and glass plate negatives. In the late 1850s the city of Paris commissioned Marville to document the ancient quarters of the city before encroaching urban modernization changed them forever. He photographed renovations and new construction, including the new Paris Opéra. Marville was also commissioned by the Musée du Louvre to make reproductions of artworks in their collection. He was named official photographer of Paris in 1862.