L’Épreuve Photographique: The Photographic Print - 1904-1905

L’Épreuve Photographique: The Photographic Print - 1904-1905

"Profil Perdu" (Lost Profile) : by French photographer Charles Sollet : from L'Épreuve Photographique: Deuxième Série: 1905: Planche 2.

Between 1904-1905, one of the most luxurious subscription photographic plate publications in France or Europe was L’Épreuve Photographique. (The Photographic Print) Published in Paris, and not satisfied with identifying itself as a mere photographic journal, it billed itself as a “monthly portfolio of luxury” instead. (Portfolio périodique de grand luxe)  Over the course of two years, prize-winning salon photographs from French and European pictorialist circles were selected for inclusion in this oversized publication as hand-pulled, copper plate (taille-douce) screen photogravures (héliogravures) from the Paris atelier of Charles Wittmann. 

The following is a translated excerpt from the publisher Librairie Plon in 1905 describing this work:

“The Photographic Print is in fact not a newspaper or a magazine but a collection of intaglio photographic reproductions of the most notable and original work, signed by the art’s most renowned photographers from France and from abroad, and carefully selected irrespective of gender or process, provided the artistic intent is clear and done with perfect execution.
We adopted the gravure as the only mode of reproduction capable of showing off all of the qualities from the varied effects of the current processes of photographic prints.
Each subject is reproduced in its color and original dimensions; and mounted along with complimentary supports that provide harmonizing color, in order to form an identical work to the original presented under the same conditions of development and artistic effect.
Each plate is covered with a tissue guard that includes the title and author’s name and any special instructions. The publication is issued periodically in issues measuring 44 by 32 cm, in a color cover designed by Georges Auriol; the series, complete in one year, includes 48 plates and is accompanied by an index page of titles printed in two tones with character designs and ornaments by Auriol.”  1.

Please visit here to continue with our overview of L’Épreuve Photographique and to continue with our two online galleries showcasing all 96 plates from this important publication.

1. Excerpt: Advertisement for L’Épreuve photographique (2e Série) in: Annuaire Général et International de la Photographie: Librairie Plon:Paris:14th Année-1905: unpaginated.