Louis Auguste Bisson (1814-1876)
Auguste Rosalie Bisson ( 1826-1876)
Louis Auguste Bisson, who had trained as an architect, first collaborated with his father with whom he specialized in portraiture - he signed a rare and legendary portrait of the writer Honoré de Balzac, in 1842 -, before opening a workshop alongside his younger brother, Auguste Rosalie, who reproduced art works. Versatile, the Bisson brothers, answered personal and professional orders but also took the risk to compile photographic collections by their own means, such as their 900 portraits of the National Assembly members between 1848 and 1849 and their cultural projects such as a monuments report from 1852. Having set the techniques of a commercial production in the late 1850s with the help of about thirty employees, the Bisson brothers distinguished themselves with their large prints as well as their precise and delicate depictions of architectural works. Yet the photographers became even more famous when they answered Napoleon III’s commission to photograph the Mont Blanc massif, in 1861 and 1862. Not only a photographic challenge that led to the first alpinism and ‘moving’ pictures with changing lights, snowy landscapes and shimmering glaciers, the adventure also became a bold and epic exploit- a veritable conquest of nature.