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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Bisson frères

Other: Bisson Brothers 
Includes: Auguste Rosalie Bisson 
Includes: Louis Auguste Bisson 
Active:  France
A partnership of the brothers Louis Auguste and Auguste Rosalie Bisson that traveled widely in Europe and is noted for some of the earliest mountaineering photographs. 
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
Paris, France 
[Louis-Auguste Bisson, Auguste-Rosalie Bisson] 8 rue GaranciŠre (plus at least 13 other studio and warehouse addresses); "Collection Bisson" to 64, when studio was sold at auction to Emile Placet who continued to use the negs. Auguste-Rosalie Bisson worked for Leon & Levy making a series of 20 dry collodion stereo negs of the ascent of Mt. Blanc (68) and over 1,000 negs. in Egypt with Edouard Welling including 200 stereos. L.A. Bisson B. 14, D. 76; A.R. Bisson B. 26, D. 00. 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the World (Non-USA), (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
NOTE: You are probably here because you have a stereograph to identify. Please email good quality copies of the front and back to so we can create reference collections for all.

Preparing biographies

Further research

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If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful.
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Exhibitions on this website

ThumbnailBisson frères - Mt. Blanc 
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Visual indexes

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Supplemental information

The Bisson brothers, Louis-Auguste (1814-1876) and Auguste-Rosalie (1826-1900), were among the best known French photographers of their day. The elder brother worked as an architect for the city of Paris and his younger sibling worked for their father, who was a painter by trade. Their first foray together was in a firm set up by their father, Bisson pére et fils, that specialized in daguerreotype portraiture. In the early 1850s, after switching to the negative/positive process, they began photographing the works of Rembrandt and Durer, then turned to architectural photography. The brothers made large prints of historic monuments from all over Europe. These prints went into the making of Reproductions photographiques des Plus Beaux Types d'Architecture, that was released in installments spanning the years 1853-1862.
The Bisson frères gained fame making large-scale photographs of the glaciers of the Alps. These were exhibited at the Société française de photographie, an organization of which they were founding members. In 1860, the brothers accompanied Napoleon III to Chamonix on a photographic expedition to commemorate the reuniting of Savoy to France. Although they did not make it to the summit of Mont Blanc on this journey, Auguste would take the first photograph from the summit in 1861. The photographs of Mont Blanc and other alpine views made up an album they published of mountain photography. By 1864, the partnership had dissolved due to changing tastes and a new demand for portrait photography.
For more information, see The Second Empire: Art in France under Napoleon III by Arnold Jolles, Frederick J. Cummings, Hubert Landais, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1978.
[Contributed by Lee Gallery] 

Internet biographies

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Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
 Go to website
The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA has a biography on this photographer. [Scroll down the page on this website as the biography may not be immediately visible.] Go to website

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.72 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.64-65 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Bisson frères.] 
• Weaver, Mike (ed.) 1989 The Art of Photography 1839-1989 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press) p.452 [This exhibition catalogue is for the travelling exhibition that went to Houston, Canberra and London in 1989.] 
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.85-86 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.241-242 
• Koetzle, Hans-Michael 2002 Photo Icons: The Story Behind the Pictures - Volume 1 (Koln: Taschen) [This book discusses one photograph "The Ascent of Mont Blanc (1862)" by Bisson frères in considerable detail. An excellent source for a detailed analysis.] 
• Newhall, Beaumont 1982 The History of Photography - Fifth Edition (London: Secker & Warburg) [One or more photographs by Bisson frères are included in this classic history.] 
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