In 1894 the Photo-Club of Paris (‘Photo-Club de Paris’) with Constant Puyo, Robert Demachy, René Le Begue, Hachette and De Singly held its first exhibition the ‘Première exposition d’art photographique’. This virtual exhibition contains all the plates printed as photogravures in the catalogue of the second exhibition that took place in 1895; the ‘Deuxième exposition d’art photographique’.
Within this exhibition there are some well known names such as Alfred Stieglitz from the USA and the founders of the Photo Club, Constant Puyo, Robert Demachy and René Le Begue but the key point is to appreciate the international flavor for the pictorialists in the 1890s. The photographers represented in the catalogue are from France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, England, Scotland, Austria and the USA while others from Italy, Germany and Switzerland were included in the hung exhibition.
Hans Watzek (1848-1903) and Hugo Henneberg (1863-1918) from Austria would go on to found the ‘The Clover Leaf’ (‘Das Kleeblatt’ or ‘Trifolium’) society of pictorialist photographers with Heinrich Kühn in 1896. Although many of the photographers listed are relatively unknown J. Craig Annan (1864-1946) was a masterful Scottish photographer and in the 1890s he printed the photographs of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson. Also of note is Baron Adolph de Meyer who became one of the greatest of the early fashion photographers and was the chief photographer at Vogue in the USA for many years.
The history of photography has not been kind to many people and most of the photographers shown here are now forgotten but we should resist using modern viewpoints to judge the talents of these amateurs. They were involved in a movement that fundamentally changed the course of artistic photography.