This print and its negative show the remarkable detail of this late Gothic church. It is one of the first times the artist used a 16 centimeter circular format which he employed and refined over the course of his career. The exposure was made with a small lens in combination with a larger camera body which enabled him to concentrate the lens' visual field in its entirety onto the sensitized paper negative at the back of the camera. Nègre was so taken with the circular format exhibited here that he regularly made trimmed tondo prints of his architectural views and genre compositions.
A pupil of Le Gray, Nègre traveled to Avignon to photograph for his projected publication, Le Midi de la France. In an 1854 manuscript that outlined his approach, he wrote that for audiences interested in architecture, "I have produced a general view of each monument for the architect. In placing the horizon line at the midpoint of the building's height and the point of view at the center, I have tried to avoid perspective distortions and have attempted to give to the drawings the aspect and the precision of a geometric elevation." The elevation view to which Nègre refers was more than a mere architectural convention but rather an essential form of visual knowledge in the nineteenth century. Nègre may not have let on how the elevation view was difficult to capture using the principles and limitations specific to the camera. Photographers of architecture were faced with many obstacles, from finding a suitable vantage point to framing the motif in order to complement the building's inherent geometry.
The artist by descent; Marie-Thérèse & André Jammes