The Ponds at Optevoz, Rhône
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André Giroux
French, Rhône, 1855
Salted paper print from a paper negative
10 1/2 x 13 3/16 in.

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This softly rendered view of marshy ponds by André Giroux owes much of its character to Giroux's training as a painter. Seeking to obliterate any evidence of photography's mechanical nature, he achieved the photograph's softened edges and atmospheric haziness by drawing and scratching on the negative. This technique is a variation of cliché-verre (literally, "glass negative"), a method of painting onto a transparent support and using it to print a positive image. Instead of starting with a blank piece of glass, Giroux worked directly on the photographic negative. He created a Romantic, idyllic landscape in the tradition of the Barbizon school of landscape painting.