Pierrot the Photographer by Nadar (1854-55)

“Pierrot the Photographer” is a photograph taken by the artist Nadar sometime between 1854 and 1855. The photograph captures a posed figure dressed as Pierrot, a stock character from the Italian Commedia dell’arte. The character stands next to a camera mounted on a tripod, with one hand on the device, suggesting the act of photography. The costume of Pierrot includes a white, loose-fitting garment with large buttons and a frilled collar, evoking the traditional theatrical attire associated with the character. The individual’s expression is serious, with a direct gaze that meets the viewer, offering a contrast to the typically playful or forlorn depictions of Pierrot. The background appears to be a plain, unadorned surface, which draws attention to the subject and the camera apparatus. Nadar’s choice of content and composition creates a striking and enigmatic image that juxtaposes the artistic figure with the technical apparatus of photography.

Other Photographs from Nadar

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