In 1842 Girault de Prangey traveled from his native France to Italy, Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, Turkey, Syria, and Palestine. His photographs of these ancient sites were fresh and innovative. By viewing the Temple of Vesta from an elevated perspective, he filled the plate from edge to edge, daringly excluding the foundation and one-third of the column shaft. No photographer before him had created as revealing a picture of a celebrated public monument. Only rediscovered in the 1920s, Girault de Prangey's daguerreotypes remained in the possession of a single family until a number of items were sold at auction in London in 2003.


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