Lumière, Charles Antoine

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b. 13 March 1840 Ormoy, France
d. 16 April 1911
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French photographer and photographie manufacturer.
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Orphaned when his parents died of cholera, at the age of 14 he was taken by his elder sister to live in Marcilly-le-Hayer. Apprenticed to a joiner, he was also interested in chemistry and physics, but his great love was drawing and painting. The leading water-colourist Auguste Constantin took him into his Paris home as an apprentice and taught him the whole business of painting. He was able to earn his living as a sign-painter, and numbered among his clients several photographers. This led to an interest in photography, which caused him to abandon the safe trade of sign-painter for that of photographer.
Lumière took a post with a photographer in Besançon in 1862. He set up business on his own account in 1865 and moved to Lyons c.1870, joining his friend and fellow photographer Emile Lebeau. The business prospered; in 1879 he installed an electricity generator in his studio to run the newly invented Van de Weyde electric arc lamp, permitting portraiture in all weathers and at all times. With the arrival of the dry-plate process c. 1880, the Lumière business looked to employ the new medium. His second son, Louis Lumière (b. 5 October 1864 Besançon, France; d. 6 June 1948 Bandol, France; see under Lumière, Auguste), fresh from college, experimented with emulsions with which his 12-year-old sister coated glass plates. While still running the studio, Antoine started marketing the plates, which were the first to be made in France, and production was soon up to 4,000 plates a day. Under his guidance A.Lumière et ses Fils acquired a worldwide reputation for the quality and originality of its products.
After his retirement from business, when he handed it over to his sons, Auguste (see Lumière, Auguste) and Louis, he took up painting again and successfully exhibited in several Salons. He was a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur, a recognition of his participation in the 1893 World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago.
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Further Reading
Guy Borgé, 1980, Prestige de la photographie, Nos. 8 and 9, Paris.
BC

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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