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Adam Begley - The Great Nadar: The Man Behind the Camera

15th September 2017
Venue: St Peter's Church, Oundle PE8 4AL
Time: 7.45 - 8.45pm

A dazzling, stylish biography of a fabled Parisian photographer, adventurer, and pioneer.

Of all of the legendary figures who emerged from mid-19th-century Paris—a cohort that includes Victor Hugo and Baudelaire, Gustave Courbet, and Alexandre Dumas—Nadar may be the most innovative, the most restless, the most modern.

He was the first great portrait photographer, a pioneering balloonist, the first person to take an aerial photograph and launch an air mail service, Nadar was one of the first celebrity artist-entrepreneurs. A kind of 19th-century Andy Warhol, he knew everyone worth knowing and photographed them all, leaving for posterity psychologically compelling portraits of Manet, Sarah Bernhardt, Delacroix, Daumier and countless others—a priceless panorama of Parisian celebrity. The book includes detailed descriptions of the nuances of Nadar’s unique photographic portraits. These descriptions capture the artistic qualities that attracted Nadar’s clients to his studio and that make these works his enduring legacy. 

Nadar became known to all of Europe and even across the Atlantic after he launched "The Giant," a hot air balloon as tall as a twelve-story building, the largest of its time. His ballooning exploits, which include a catastrophic crash that made headlines around the world, inspired his friend Jules Verne create one of his most dynamic heroes.

The Great Nadar illuminates a larger-than-life figure, a visionary whose outsized talent and canny self-promotion put him way ahead of his time.

Adam Begley is the author of Updike (Harper, 2014). He was the books editor of the New York Observer from 1996 to 2009, and has been a Guggenheim fellow and a fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, and The Times Literary Supplement.

Tickets £8 (£6), £1 off early bird tickets bought before 8th September, available from the Oundle Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle.

Open hours: 10.00am – 4.00pm Mon to Fri: Tel 01832 274734, online at www.oundlefestival.org.uk

Any queries call Helen on 07743988181 or email oundlelitfestival@hotmail.co.uk