From 1843 to 1846 while photography was still in its infancy, Jules Alphonse Eugène Itier (1802-1877) travelled to China armed with a Lerebours daguerreotype camera and a laboratory filled with equipment and supplies. Diplomat, geologist, writer, anthropologist, and amateur photographer, Itier went to China in order to develop French imperialist and commercial expansion. But far from being merely a diplomat traveller, he meticulously documented everything he saw while trying to transcend exotic clichés. He demonstrated indeed a real empathy, a sincere desire to discover and more importantly to understand a country that Westerners fantasized. His photographs are both creative and documentary, they portray China through its typical traditional architecture, its panoramas of ports bays, its cityscapes, its people, their social activities, and its historical events.
More information: Musée Français de la Photographie