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date: 07 December 2019

Charnay, (Claude-Joseph-)Désiré locked

(b Fleurieux, Rhône, May 2, 1828; d Paris, Oct 24, 1915).
  • Patricia Strathern

Extract

(b Fleurieux, Rhône, May 2, 1828; d Paris, Oct 24, 1915).

French photographer, archaeologist, and writer. An intrepid traveller, he used photography as a method of recording and documenting the sites he explored and wrote about. He left for the USA in 1857, spending two years in Mexico from 1857 to 1859. Using the wet collodion process and large plates, his photography (e.g. Mexico—Chichen Itza, c. 1858; see Berger and Levrault, cat. no. 40) was something of a technical feat in the circumstances. He returned to Europe in 1861, and his first book, Antiquités mexicaines, was published the same year. In 1863 he photographed in Madagascar and from 1864 to 1880 worked in South America, Java, Australia, and Canada. In 1880 he returned to Mexico, where he made some important archaeological discoveries in Pre-Columbian sites.

See also: Pre-Columbian sources in American architecture; Mesoamerica, Pre-Columbian, §X, 1.

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