World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Félix Bonfils

Félix Bonfils
Born (1831-03-08)8 March 1831
Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort, France
Died 9 April 1885(1885-04-09) (aged 54)
Alès, France
Nationality French
Occupation Photographer
Years active especially from 1867 to his death
Known for early Middle East photography
Photo of an Arab man with a pipe, taken by Félix Bonfils.
A photograph taken by Bonfils of Bedouin women carrying their children.

Félix Bonfils (8 March 1831 – 1885) was a French photographer and writer who was active in the Middle East.

He was born in Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort and died in Alès. Félix worked as a bookbinder but in 1860 he joined General d'Hautpoul's expedition to the Levant. Soon after returning from Lebanon he became a photographer. When his son Adrien fell ill, Félix remembered the green hills around Beirut and sent him there to recover, being accompanied by Marie-Lydie Cabanis Bonfils, Félix's wife. The family moved to Beirut in 1867 where they opened a photographic studio called "Maison Bonfils".[1][2]

Maison Bonfils produced thousands of photographs of the Middle East. They photographed posed scenes, dressed up in Middle Eastern regalia, and also stories from the Bible.[1] Their studio became "F. Bonfils et Cie" in 1878. Bonfils took photographs in Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Greece and Constantinople (now Istanbul).[2]

In 1872 he published the album Architecture Antique (by Ducher press) after presenting some of his pictures to the Société française de photographie. His work became well known for the tourists that travelled to those countries because they bought their photos as souvenirs. He later opened another studio in Alès (France).


  • Panoramic photography 1
  • Further reading 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Panoramic photography

After settling in the Near East, Bonfils took some panoramic photographs of Constantinople and Damascus.[3]

Further reading

”The Image of the East: Nineteenth-Century Near-Eastern Photographs by Bonfils” by Gavin (Carney E.S.). From the Collection of the Harvard Semitic Museum, Chicago/London. University of Chicago Press, 1982.


  1. ^ a b "Aerial Panoramic View of Beirut". World Digital Library. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Szegedy-Maszak, Andrew (May–June 2001). "The Genius of Félix Bonfils". Archaeology 54 (3). 
  3. ^ "Collections Search Center, Smithsonian Institution". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 

External links

  • Canadian Centre for Architecture; Collections Online, s.v. "Bonfils, Félix", cited 31 January 2011
  • Union List of Artists Names, s.v. "Bonfils, Félix", cited 6 February 2006
  • Images by Bonfils
  • The Bonfils Story: A Legacy Of Light
  • Collection of photos by Bonfils

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.