Monday’s Photography Inspiration – Esteban Gonnet

Esteban Gonnet was a French photographer who emigrated to Argentina, where he focused his work as a photographer. He was born in Grenoble, France and moved to Argentina from Newcastle, England, in 1857. His brother, Louis Gonnet worked in a printing house and lived in Argentina and was the father of Manuel B. Gonnet. Gonnet was officer of the French Navy in 1845. In October 1855 he served in the merchant marine and earned a master in Dundee, Scotland.

Gonnet became a photographer after arriving in Buenos Aires in 1857. He was a surveyor, working with his cousin Hippolyte Gaillard, who was also a surveyor.

Gonnet’s work reflected the rural lifetime and customs, showing the life and customs of aboriginal people and paisanos of that era, although Gonnet also took photographies in urban places. In most of his photography he tried to show the typical image of the creole, stereotyping Argentine customs, and using objects as symbols that would create iconic images of the era. His photos were then sold abroad (mostly in Europe), when photography of travels or distant places where gaining in popularity.

Parque de Artillería Park with its seats, trees and gaslight columns. The photo was taken from the Buenos Aires Western Railway terminus. Rail tracks, a carriage and its horse and the entering to Cuartel de Artillería can be seen in the image.
Parque de Artillería Park with its seats, trees and gaslight columns. The photo was taken from the Buenos Aires Western Railway terminus. Rail tracks, a carriage and its horse and the entering to Cuartel de Artillería can be seen in the image. Photographer: Esteban Gonnet
Paseo de Marte (Gonnet, 1864)
Paseo de Marte (Gonnet, 1864). Photographer: Esteban Gonnet
Pirámide de Mayo (Gonnet, 1864)
Pirámide de Mayo (Gonnet, 1864). Photographer: Esteban Gonnet

Gonnet’s innovative style of work consisted of the use of negative system rather than daguerreotype (that was the most common technique by then). Furthermore, Gonnet usually chose to take pictures outdoors instead of working at a studio, which was also his hallmark.

View of Plaza de la Victoria, Piramid of May and Cathedral of Buenos Aires. At right, the Archbishop building, that would be destroyed by fire in 1955.
View of Plaza de la Victoria, Piramid of May and Cathedral of Buenos Aires. At right, the Archbishop building, that would be destroyed by fire in 1955. Photographer: Esteban Gonnet
Plaza de la Victoria y Recova Nueva (Gonnet, 1864)
Plaza de la Victoria y Recova Nueva (Gonnet, 1864). Photographer: Esteban Gonnet
Muelle de la Aduana Nueva (1864)
Muelle de la Aduana Nueva (1864). Photographer: Esteban Gonnet

In 1864 his photos were used to make litographies and were also published in several newspapers. Also that year, Gonnet published two photograph books, Recuerdos de Buenos-Ayres (regarded as the oldest album dedicated to Buenos Aires) and Recuerdos de la Campaña de Buenos-Ayres, consisting of 20 photos each. During a long time, those albums were wrongly credited to Gonnet coleague Benito Panunzi.

Muelle de Pasajeros (Gonnet, 1864)
Muelle de Pasajeros (Gonnet, 1864). Photographer: Esteban Gonnet

Aduana Nueva (1864)
Aduana Nueva (1864). Photographer: Esteban Gonnet

pammyv02

I am a photographer currently living in London. Most of my work is in black and white because which I've found to be the best outlet to express myself. With patience a rather unique way of seeing the beauty around me, I enjoy creating a world that is unique to me.

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