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Camille Silvy  

b. 1834 Nogent-le-Rotrou, France, d. 1910 Saint-Maurice, France

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Camille Silvy once credited his start in photography to the influence of a drawing teacher he had as a child. Silvy had studied law and had become a diplomat, but it was after a visit to Algeria that he became a photographer. He met with early success photographing the landscape around the countryside outside of Paris where he grew up. One critic said of his landscapes: "It is difficult to obtain a greater finesse in the details with such grand and well combined effects of light."

Silvy became a member of the Société Française de Photographie in 1858. By 1859, he had moved to London and opened a portrait studio producing cartes-de-visite, the small, calling card-sized photographs invented by André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri in 1854. Silvy also became a member of the Photographic Society there. In 1868, when the popularity of the carte-de-visite had waned, Silvy sold his London studio and returned to France. With his health wrecked by poisoning from photography chemicals, Silvy died at age seventy-five.

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Camille Silvy: River Scene, France

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Street Musicians / Silvy
Street Musicians

French, about 1860

River Scene / Silvy
River Scene

French, 1858

Portrait-Woman / Silvy

French, about 1860