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Photography center presents century-old album by French military officer

02/10/2024 12:46 PM
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A photo of Magong City Wall, taken over a century ago by French Lieutenant Colonel and the Count of Pimodan Claude de Rarécourt de la Vallée, is presented on the "Memories from Formosa and the Pescadores Islands" online gallery by the National Center of Photography and Images. Photo courtesy of the National Center of Photography and Images
A photo of Magong City Wall, taken over a century ago by French Lieutenant Colonel and the Count of Pimodan Claude de Rarécourt de la Vallée, is presented on the "Memories from Formosa and the Pescadores Islands" online gallery by the National Center of Photography and Images. Photo courtesy of the National Center of Photography and Images

Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) The National Center of Photography and Images (NCPI) is presenting an online gallery featuring photographs taken by a French military officer during his visit to Taiwan over a century ago when the island was known as Formosa and under Japanese rule.

The gallery titled "Memories from Formosa and the Pescadores Islands" showcases photographs taken by Claude de Rarécourt de la Vallée, who was a lieutenant colonel and the count of Pimodan.

Born in 1859, the French nobleman was a military attaché with the French embassy in Tokyo during the 19th century and was invited by Japanese general Kawakami Soroku to tour Taiwan and the outlying Penghu islands in 1896, one year after they were ceded to the Empire of Japan by the Qing Dynasty.

After arriving at the port of Keelung, he visited several other areas, including Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Magong City in Penghu.

Accompanied by his Japanese hosts during the trip, he was moved by the scenes of ordinary people going about their daily lives, such as farmers toiling in the fields with their buffalos, traditional buildings, and the temple culture.

The count of Pimodan later wrote a memoir about his trip and produced an album that included 54 photos made with the collotype technique, which he then gifted to those who hosted him, according to the NCPI.

Collotype is a photographic printing process invented in 1855 to print images in a wide variety of tones without the need for halftone screens. The majority of collotypes were produced between the 1870s and 1920s.

After Taiwan, the national center said he also visited other regions in Southeast Asia to observe how Japan, France, and Britain ruled their colonies.

The online gallery can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/3TSwX3U

(By Wang Pao-erh and Ko Lin)

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