1936

The Mairot family at Versailles in 1936

Voir The Mairot family at Versailles in 1936
11.02.1949

Granddaughter and grandmother in front of the Latona Fountain

Voir Granddaughter and grandmother in front of the Latona Fountain
1950

Family at the Queen's Hamlet

Voir Family at the Queen's Hamlet
1960

Spanish visitors in the 1960's

Voir Spanish visitors in the 1960's
1962

Winter 1962, sliding on the Grand Canal

Voir Winter 1962, sliding on the Grand Canal
1965

Victor Urbain with his daughter Monique and his two grand-children

Voir Victor Urbain with his daughter Monique and his two grand-children
October 1979

Mathieu, first steps at Versailles

Voir Mathieu, first steps at Versailles
1981

Family at Versailles

Voir Family at Versailles
1982

May 1982

Voir May 1982
May 1991

In front of the Palace of Versailles

Voir In front of the Palace of Versailles
2012

K&K at Versailles

Voir K&K at Versailles
Themes Fermer

A short history of family photography

Throughout the 19th...

The start of a collection

The connection between photography and the Palace of Versailles has...

Childhood at Versailles

For the residents of Versailles, childhood at the Palace of...

Visiting the Palace of Versailles in the 20th century

The first decades after the museum opened in 1837 did not meet with...

The history of the Palace of Versailles in the 20th century

The Palace of Versailles was opened to visitors in 1837 by decision of Louis-Philippe, who set up a museum dedicated...

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A short history of family photography

Throughout the 19th century, photography was a complex process that required a large amount of equipment. It was therefore reserved to an elite who had the financial resources and spare time. At the end of the 19th century, technical research sought to miniaturise cameras for amateurs as much as possible.

Throughout the 19th century, photography was a complex process that required a large amount of equipment. It was therefore reserved to an elite who had the financial resources and spare time. At the end of the 19th century, technical research sought to miniaturise cameras for amateurs as much as possible. The “Vest Pocket” was invented in 1912 – it was light and easy to use, requiring no stand, making “instant” photographs possible. Amateur photography started to expand massively.

In the 1930s and 1940s, new subjects appeared amongst the working class with the arrival of paid holidays: time off, the seaside, the trip itself, the colonies, etc. Photographs sought to be less formal and solemn. They were souvenirs of good times. The emotional attachments between members of the family were depicted – more natural poses were desired, with the subject’s cooperation by looking into the camera.

Kodacolor came out in 1952. It was the first colour negative film for the general public, making colour family photos commonplace.

Two cameras were highly popular in the 1960s and 1970s: the 24/36 Reflex camera was introduced by and for the men of the family, and the Kodak Instamatic mainly focused on women and children. The latter enabled women to take up photography, which had been reserved to men up until then, and to take family pictures. At the same time, a marked interest in children emerged – their pictures were taken alone, in the heat of the action during their own childhood activities. People wanted to get away from posed, socially ritualised photographs in favour of pictures that were more “natural” and “authentic”. This trend has continued to grow to the present.

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Digital cameras have made it possible to produce a different kind of picture, at the crossroads between photography, computers and the graphic arts. This practices appears to be open to all members of the family. It also leads to a new function for pictures produced more for social communication than as the guardians of the family memory.

Bibliography: Irène JONAS, Mort de la photo de famille ? De l'argentique au numérique, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2010.

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