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Junction of the Bossons and Taconnaz Glaciers, Failed Ascent of Mont Blanc

Auguste-Rosalie BissonAugust 1859

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Although the transport of photographic equipment and the manipulation of chemical solutions for the wet collodion process was never an easy task, no more audacious challenge was undertaken in the early history of photography than the ascent of Mont Blanc and the making of views at the summit of the highest peak in the Alps. Bisson and his team—an experienced guide and twenty-five porters carrying his plates, cameras, chemicals, and portable darkroom tent—were thwarted by violent changes in weather on their attempted ascents in 1859 and 1860. Notwithstanding the paralyzing cold, a blinding snowstorm, avalanches, and the expected nausea and vertigo of high-altitude exploration, his team succeeded on its third attempt, reaching the 15,781-foot summit on July 24, 1861. By bringing his Parisian clientele a virtual experience few would ever realize in fact, Bisson was one of many photographers whose explorations of the globe dramatically expanded the known world for 19th-century urban audiences.

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  • Title: Junction of the Bossons and Taconnaz Glaciers, Failed Ascent of Mont Blanc
  • Creator: Auguste-Rosalie Bisson
  • Date: August 1859
  • Physical Dimensions: w38.7 x h23.3 cm (sheet)
  • Type: Photographs
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Manfred Heiting, The Manfred Heiting Collection

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