Auguste Belloc, 1800-1867
Auguste Belloc was born in Paris in 1800. He attended
the Lycee Louis-le-Grand, where he had Humbert de Molard as a schoolmate,
a person with whom he would strike up a long- standing friendship twenty
years later, based on a shared passion for photography. We have no records
of Belloc's further schooling. In 1829 he published a first volume,
perhaps a thesis.
His early work consisted in miniatures and watercolors
but he soon was to discover photography. Towards 1845 he became enthused
by the discovery of the wet-plate collodion process. He was very impressed
with the sharp detail rendered by that process, and set to work in search
of improvements to the negative's support. His research paralleled efforts
in the same direction by the Englishman Archer, who put his first glass
plate negatives up for display in 1848. When Archer made his perfected
technique public in 1851, Belloc proved himself a good loser by terming
the new process "Archerotype".
By 1851 Belloc had his own studio at boulevard Montmartre
5, and already had taken to specializing in portraiture and nudes. He
gave lessons in photography in connection with the two major techniques
of the day, daguerreotypy and the wet-plate collodion process. He contributed
work to the Universal Exhibition at London's Crystal Palace. He collaborated
with the painter and photographer Alexandra Clausel, of the city of
Troyes (southeast of Paris) who had come up with a lacquer for his oil
Together, in 1852, they perfected a wax coating process
for the purposes of conferring a certain luster to images on salted
paper. His notes on the project read as follows: "Positive prints
seen under water look beautiful, and certainly we would like them to
hold on to their wet sheen; yet when they dry, they lose their translucency
and forcefulness, together with all their detail, their refinements
and the charm of their coloring. Glossy wax gives them back the ever
so soft and harmonious lustre lost through drying."
In 1853 Belloc brought out, at author's expense, his
first book on photography: "A Theoretical and Practical Treatise
on Collo- dion-Process Photography". The following year he moved
to rue de Lancry 16, where he set up a photographic printing press.
He became a founding member of the Societe Francaise de Photographic
(French Society of Photography).