(b Paris, Aug 18, 1818; d Paris, Dec 26, 1882).
French photographer, painter, printmaker, and collector. After studying with the sculptor James Pradier and the painters Jean-Pierre Granger (1779–1840) and Paul Delaroche, he made his début at the Salon of 1842, winning a third-class medal there in 1845. He turned to photography in the wave of self-enrichment preceding the 1848 Revolution. With Charles Nègre he experimented with the waxed paper negative process of (Jean-Baptiste-)Gustave Le Gray, from whom he probably received personal instruction before 1850. Unlike other photographers, who later adopted glass negatives, Le Secq continued to use paper, at first employing photographs as studies for his genre paintings.
By 1851 Le Secq excelled at rendering ancient and medieval monuments in a pictorial style that exploited the effects of light and shadow, turning architecture into symbolic fragments evoking a rapidly disappearing historical past, which Le Secq sought to save photographically. After helping found the Société Héliographique in 1851...