EDOUARD BALDUS
INNOVATIVE 19TH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHER.

By Bill Dobbins
www.billdobbinsphotography.com

Édouard Baldus (June 5, 1813, Grünebach, Prussia – 1889, Arcueil) was a French landscapearchitectural and railway photographer.  Édouard-Denis Baldus was born on June 5, 1813 in Grünebach, Prussia. He was originally trained as a painter and had also worked as a draughtsman and lithographer before switching to photography in 1849. – Wikipedia

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Baldus was well known throughout France for his efforts in photography. One of his greatest assignments was to document the construction of the Louvre museum. His skills included architectural and landscape photos along with many other types of photography.  Relying on the technology of the time, he used wet and dry paper negatives as large as 10×14 inches in size. From these negatives, he made contact prints. In order to create a larger image, he put contact prints side by side to create a panoramic effect. This was a technique that was going to be copied by others from then on.

Place_du_Chatelet_(sharper)_by_Edouard_Baldus

Édouard_Baldus_-_Seine_avec_ses_ponts

He was renowned for the sheer size of his pictures, which ranged up to eight feet long for one panorama from around 1855, made from several negatives. – Wikipedia

Despite the documentary nature of many of his assignments, Baldus was inventive in overcoming the limitations of the calotype process (described here). Long before airbrushing or Photoshop, he often retouched his negatives to blank out buildings and trees, or to put clouds in white skies; in his composite print of the medieval cloister of St. Trophime, in Arles (1851), he pieced together fragments of 10 different negatives to capture focus in depth in a panoramic view of the interior space and also render detail in the brightly lit courtyard outside.

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Bill Dobbins is a professional photographer, videographer and writer based in Los Angeles.  His work has been exhibited as fine art in two museums, a number of galleries, and he has published eight books, including two fine art photo books:

The Women: Photographs of The Top Female Bodybuilders (Artisan)
Modern Amazons (Taschen)

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baldus portrait
Edouard Baldus