Oldest darkroom lab discovered in France

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by Mitica100, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Recently there has been an important discovery in France (near Chalon). An entire darkroom lab full of equipment for developing, cameras and literature in a house vacated around 1855. It seems no one touched it all these years! Hard to imagine, isn't it?

    Here is the link:

    http://www.niepce.com/pagus/pagus-eve.html
     
  2. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    :er: The part of the article that seems to contain more information is in French. If only i hadn't skipped so many of my French classes in college!

    Cool picture, though :mrgreen:
     
  3. blackdoglab

    blackdoglab yeah I'm easy.... but I'm not cheap

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    I though the H.H. Bennett studio darkroom was the oldest one to survive. Darn those french for breaking Wisconsin's record.
     
  4. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    What a find! Absolutely mind-boggling that it's so intact.
     
  5. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I suppose everything was contact prints exposed by the sun that far back, you reckon?
     
  6. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    You mean you don't remember how you made prints back then, Charlie?:lol:
     
  7. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It mentions collodian (wet plate). ;) Amazing!

    They even found the receipts for all the chemicals. :lovey: All the flasks, the chemicals, the plates, and 500 books.

    Oh, I would love to see this someday. How very special. A temple!

    Thanks for the link, Dimitri!
     
  8. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I actually built a daylight contact printer. I did it to convince myself that it could have easily been done in 1920 by an itenerant photographer. Or even today at a festival camped out with no electricity.

    Used it in a book I wrote.
     
  9. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You know, I would love to visit it some day! This is like discovering the Holy Grail of the Photography!
     
  10. montresor

    montresor TPF Noob!

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    Ran it through a free online translator. Quite imperfect, but serviceable. (It translated "Petiot-Groffier" as "Little laddie-Groffier." Yikes! Corrected.)

    On Tuesday May 29, 2007
    Close to Châlon-sur-Saône
    Discovered of the oldest photo laboratory in the world
    a turn of key and a door opened on 152 years an old past. A laboratory of the one of the whole first photographers in the world has been just rediscovered. intact
    It is into 1840 that Joseph Fortuné Petiot-Groffier opens his laboratory. It will make use until 1855 and will die of it mysteriously, probably because photographic desÊchimies. Prudently, the heirs closed the door.
    From generation to generation, the residence of the surroundings of Trawl-net remained occupied but this part however remained closed without being completely forgotten. Because the family always was aware to thus preserve a treasure but which carefully remained buckled with double turn behind its door out of wooden, on the second floor - from now on unoccupied - dwelling.
    Two years ago, the last member of the family inherits in his turn the residence and it is there that it discovers the treasure. But it will take him two years to determine to which it will choose to entrust it, concerned to preserve it complete, not to disperse it.
    Thus at the beginning of year, it decides to contact Pierre-Yves Mahé, the initiator of the House Nicéphore Niépce, with Saint-Wolf of Varennes. “I have something to show you”, slips it. Pierre-Yves Mahé wants to come to on the spot see the reality of this discovery without guessing one moment what awaits it.
    “I do not attach a colossal importance to this advertisement at the beginning”, entrusts Mr. Mahé which already saw promises of sensational discoveries to appear finally quite banal.
    However, when the famous door opens finally in front of him, it is a forgotten world which appears. A laboratory complete, intact, such as had left its user right before his death in 1855 and left in the state since. “It was one graying moment, one does not know more where to look at there were hundreds of bottles of chemistry, often full, hundreds of works, objects everywhere of which several apparatuses allowing to carry out images according to the first two photographic processes', the Daguerreotype and Collodion”.
    And for him which is invested since 1999 in its project of House Nicéphore Niépce, they is at once instantaneous answers to questions that it is posed, of the prospects for research. “all is hustled in the head in only one moment”.
    In the emotion of the moment, a thought emerges:
    “and if all this burned tomorrow, I would like all my life of it”. Then Pierre-Yves Mahé photographs. All. In a disordered way. “There was urgency to save something”.
    The shock of discovered passed, the persons in charge for the House Nicéphore Niépce, Pierre-Yves Mahé but also Jean-Louis Marignier, Michele Lourseau, start the complete inventory of this treasure which did not finish any delivering all its secrecies. “Let us have We for several months of studies”, estimates Mr. today. Mahé. Never a priori, such a quantity of chemistry of time had not indeed been found, more than 300 still full bottles of which good number still sealed. Associated that, more than 400 pounds former to the years 1830 container all knowledge of the time over which a photographer could rest. Of course, all the accessories necessary to the realization of Daguerreotypes and Collodion are complete there.
    Thanks to this extraordinary jump in time that an opening of door has just made him carry out, this laboratory and the results of research will be presented in the House Nicéphore Niépce at Saint-Wolf of Varennes, in full heart of the territory of birth of the photographic adventure. Definitively Burgundian.
    C. Saulnier
     
  11. BernieSC

    BernieSC TPF Noob!

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    Wow thats like finding Jesus's tomb. The holy grail of photography. How in the hell could that have been there that long practically untouched? If I were a rich man I would be on a plane to France to that that myself.
     

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