The historical space of photography agency Roger-Viollet, located rue de Seine in Paris 6th arrondissement, has opened its doors to the public since December 2020, to show its huge collection of photographs (more than a million pieces) and sell them to a public, keen to novelty and ever more eager to acquire prints. The third exhibit since opening is grand by its title “L’orient en Grand” and the size of the photographs. I had never heard of 16cmx42cm glass plate negatives before: the operators of the studio created in 1864 by Moyse Léon and Isaac Georges Lévy strolled the Earth to bring back pictures of the planet and its people. The result is stunning of sharpness and beauty. 50 prints spread over the walls, in between the shelves stuffed with the historical green boxes that were carefully preserved, containing demo prints for the customers and evoking places and historical dates. One would love to spend some time pulling those boxes one by one and discovering the treasures they contain. “Saturday is not a good day for that”, told us the sympathetic and enthusiastic young employee present in the gallery and showing us around. Nonetheless, gallery Roger-Viollet is a new space that counts: wonders are awaiting to be reveaved or rediscovered, once pulled out of the green boxes… we will be back.

Gizeh pyramids (Egypt) ©Roger-Viollet
Prayer in the Sahara desert, Algeria ©Roger-Viollet
Jemaa el-Fna square. Marrakech (Morocco) ca. 1900 ©Roger-Viollet
©Sortir à Paris
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