Frank Chauvassaignes' portrait is an outstanding example of compositional and technical achievement in early French photography. A handsome young painter, outfitted for work in the studio in a rumpled smock, appears to be caught in a moment of introspection, pipe in hand. The camera's lowered position gives the sitter a dignified air. In this formally balanced portrait, the photographer captured not only the sitter's physical likeness, but also his state of mind. Chauvassaignes, a photographer with a trained and sophisticated eye, lived in Clermont-Ferrand, a city in central France, and was a member of the Société française de photographie. To date, little information has been found about this artist and his small, though remarkable, body of known images
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