Outside their striped tent, a group of Algerian soldiers in Emperor Napoléon III's army listen attentively as a well-decorated member of their regiment spins a tale. Seated on one-legged stools, the outer circle of men listen with their hands on their knees while the points of their swords rest on the parched earth. Known as Zouaves, these soldiers were famous for their bravery and for their spirited theatrical antics. Gustave Le Gray photographed this group as part of a commission to document a military training camp outside Paris. Aware that the Zouaves were highly entertaining to their fellow soldiers, as well as to the Emperor, Le Gray photographed this regiment more often than any other.


  • Title: Zouave Storyteller
  • Creator: Gustave Le Gray
  • Date Created: 1857
  • Location Created: Chalons, France
  • Physical Dimensions: 26.2 × 33.5 cm (10 5/16 × 13 3/16 in.)
  • Type: Print
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Albumen silver print
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 84.XM.637.5
  • Culture: French
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820 - 1884)
  • Classification: Photographs (Visual Works)

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