Sunday, November 25, 2012

norbert ghisoland

norbert ghisoland was born on 17 march 1878 at la bouverie, a village in the borinage district of belgium. his father was a deep-seam coal miner who wanted a better life for his sons: photography for one & carpentry for the other. when the photographer was killed in an accident, norbert, the carpenter, took his place. in 1902, aged 24, he moved to another village called frameries & opened his studio at 43 grand'rue. behind the studio's two display windows was his family home, his studio & his darkroom. he would live & work there until his death on 2 november 1939.

in the early years of the twentieth century, a stream of ordinary people filed into the studio, for full length portraits or photos for identity cards, taken in front of a trompe-l'oeil background or a simple white backdrop.

in total, he produced more than 90,000 glass-plate negatives, each numbered and filed in small cardboard boxes, of which the last 45,000 remain today. his son, edmond, took over the business when he returned from a prisoner-of-war camp in 1945 & continued to photograph the children & grandchildren of his father's portraits.  celluloid film replaced the glass plates. today, marc ghuisoland, edmond's son & norbert's grandson, continues to work in the same studio using digital photography.

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