Biography | Bibliography
Robert Demachy was born into a wealthy Parisian family which in turn allowed him to pursue his love of art and music, without having to worry about how to support himself. He was influenced by the Impressionist painters and spent most of his time making photographs and developing his theories on photography, both technical and aesthetic. He wrote thousands of articles and several books on photography and was a strong proponent of techniques used to manipulate a photograph such as the gum bichromate process, oil transfers and scratching of the gelatine.
Demachy founded the Photo-Club de Paris with fellow photographer C. Puyo and was a prominent force in French pictorial photography. In 1905 he became a member of The Linked Ring and was an honorary member of the Royal Photographic Society. His photographs were also reproduced Stieglitz’ Camera Work.
By 1907 Demachy was so absorbed in his photography that he had a separate studio and living quarters for himself in the upper floor of the family mansion. His wife Adelia had her own quarters on the ground floor, and their children were looked after by an Irish nanny. This situation led to increasing resentment by Adelia, since she was surrounded by Demachy’s mother, her in-laws and her children in their mansion yet she rarely saw her husband because of his preoccupation with photography.
He exhibited his work and lectured internationally before giving up photography in 1914 in order to pursue drawing. His work can be found in such collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.
Anna Bowman Dodd, In and out of a French country-house, New York : Dodd, Mead & Company, 1910.
Anna Bowman Dodd, In and out of three Normandy inns, Boston, Little, Brown, and Company, 1910.
Alfred Maskell, Photo-aquatint, London, Hazell, Watson, & Viney, ld., 1901.
Tom Ang, Photography : the definitive visual history, New York, New York : DK, 2014.