6 April 1820, Paris – 20 March 1910, Paris
Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as Nadar, was a French photographer, caricaturist, journalist, novelist, and balloonist (or, more accurately, proponent of manned flight). Photographic portraits by Nadar are held by many of the great national collections of photographs.
Nadar started working as a caricaturist and novelist for various newspapers. He fell in with the Parisian bohemian group of Gérard de Nerval, Charles Baudelaire and Théodore de Banville. His friends picked a nickname for him: Tournadar, which later became Nadar. His work was published in Le Charivari for the first time in 1848. In 1849, he founded the Revue comique and the Petit journal pour rire.
From work as a caricaturist, he moved on to photography, particularly portraits. He photographed a wide range of personalities: politicians (Guizot, Proudhon), stage actors (Sarah Bernhardt), writers (Hugo, Baudelaire, Sand, Nerval, Gautier, Dumas), painters (Corot, Delacroix, Millet), and musicians (Liszt, Rossini, Offenbach, Verdi, Berlioz). In 1886, with his son Paul, he did what may be the first photo-report: an interview with the great scientist Chevreul (who was then 100 years old). It was published in Le Journal Illustré. In 1858 he became the first person to take aerial photographs.
Félix Nadar was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (1 April 1820, Paris – 20 March 1910), a French photographer, caricaturist, journalist, novelist and balloonist. He took his first photographs in 1853 and pioneered the use of artificial lighting in photography, working in the catacombs of Paris.
In 1863, Nadar commissioned the prominent balloonist Eugène Godard to construct an enormous balloon, named Le Géant (The Giant), thereby inspiring Jules Verne’s Five Weeks in a Balloon. Le Géant was badly damaged at the end of its second flight, but later, The Society for the Encouragement of Aerial Locomotion by Means of Heavier than Air Machines was established, with Nadar as president and Verne as secretary…