Jules RichardJules Richard (1848-1930)

Felix Richard owned a company specializing in the manufacture of scientific barometers. After his fathers death in 1876, Jules Richard took over his father's business. Trained in various technical areas, Richard made his mark with the first successful line of recording barometers. He also developed an interest in stereo photography, and in 1893 obtained his first patent for a stereo camera design - the Verascope. Richard was an innovator, his 45x107 mm format became an industry standard, and no doubt greatly contributed to the popularization of amateur stereo photography. Within the specialized arena of stereo, one can argue Jules Richard was as important a pioneer as George Eastman.

Did Jules Richard simply love his ladies, or was he also an extremely clever marketer? In the post Victorian era, European morals can hardly be described as loose. Yet, Richard spent considerable time and effort photographing naked women, and not just for personal consumption. In spite of their potentially scandalous nature, Richard sold copies of his nudes. No doubt many a viewer and slides were sold to "sporting gentlemen" thanks to these images.

Richard's images are generally recognizable by location. He used a property he owned, Chantemerle, and a special place, L'Atrium, near his home and factory in Paris. Achille Limoine was a photographer employed by Richard. He too photographed nudes at his own home in Croissy sur Seine.

Apparently, Jules Richard was not overly concerned with his public perception. I am told he married a prostitute. Although his company still survives, Richard himself had no children, and the company's connection to photography ended with the demise of the post WWII stereo fad. Today, as a direct link to the man who contributed so much to generations of stereo photographers and collectors, Richard nudes are among the most sought after of 45x107 format images.

For a long time I resisted buying Richard nudes. To me the value was purely in the history, not the actual content of the images. However, when I was offered a set of images in four Taxiphote trays, a friend pointed out not having any represented a genuine gap in my collection of Richard related materials. The samples here are representative of the collection. The Autochrome portrait of Jules Richard illustrating this article does not belong to me. Although I have never seen one for sale, apparently there was a photographer who on occasion shot Autochromes at L'Atrium.

An excellent web site with a superb collection of Richard nudes may be found here.


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Old Stereo Photos

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Stereo Misc.

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