Félix Bonfils, self-portrait
Félix Adrien Bonfils
8 March 1831
|Died||9 April 1885 (aged 54)|
|Occupation||Photographer and publisher|
|Years active||especially from 1867 to his death|
|Known for||early Middle East photography|
|Spouse(s)||Marie-Lydie Cabanis (1837-1918) (m. 1857)|
Félix Adrien Bonfils (8 March 1831 – 1885) was a French photographer and writer who was active in the Middle East. He was one of the first commercial photographers to produce images of the Middle East on a large scale and amongst the first to employ a new method of colour photography, developed in 1880.
He was born in Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort and died in Alès. Félix worked as a bookbinder but in 1860 he joined General d'Hautpoul's expedition to the Levant. Soon after returning from Lebanon he became a photographer.
In 1857, he married Marie-Lydie Cabanis. When his son, Adrien, fell ill, Félix remembered the green hills around Beirut and sent him there to recover, being accompanied by Félix's wife. The family moved to
Maison Bonfils produced thousands of photographs of the Middle East. He worked with both his wife and his son. Their studio became "F. Bonfils et Cie" in 1878. They photographed posed scenes, dressed up in Middle Eastern regalia, and also stories from the Bible. Bonfils took photographs in
Bonfils was amongst the first photographers to employ the new technique of