The French literary figure of the 19th century was not just a man of words, but also of images. At one point, Émile Zola came close to becoming a professional photographer.
Known as a practitioner of the literary school of naturalism and developer of the theatrical naturalism, Zola was a spearhead of the political liberalization of France, and the exoneration of the falsely-accused army officer Alfred Dreyfus, in which Zola wrote about in the famous newspaper headline, J'accuse'. He also penned "Les Rougon-Macquart, Thérèse Raquin", "Germinal" as some of his notable works, but beyond his writing, Zola was very much fascinated with photography, mostly he would photograph his daughter. Zola said:
"In my opinion, you cannot say you have thoroughly seen anything until you have got a photograph of it, revealing a lot of points which otherwise would be unnoticed, and which in most cases could not be distinguished." - Emile Zola - in Photo-Miniature no. 21 (December 1900) Cited in "The History of Photography" by Beaumont Newhall, The Museum of Modern Art, New York 1964, p. 94.
Here are some of the writer's photographs:
Images are from Emile Zola Society.
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