Tairraz & Savioz

Both Tairraz and Savioz were employed by the town of Chamonix in 1860 to photograph the visit of Emperor Napoleon III and Imperatrice Eugenie on the occasion of Savoie becoming part of France.

Later they formed a partnership, publishing photographs by “Tairraz et Savioz à Chamonix”. In 1860 we know that Savioz was in Paris and in 1863 we know that Tairraz published individually a catalogue of stereoviews, therefore it would seem that this short-lived relationship was in place around 1861-62.

tairraz et savioz chalet

The earliest firm date for stereoviews taken by either man is 1861 when Tairraz took views from the summit of Mont Blanc in July and when the remains of Dr Hamel’s party were found in the Bossons glacier in August. Views of the latter incident entitled “guides searching for the remains of their comrades” are numbered around 80 by Tairraz and around 120 in other series. As it is unlikely that more than a handful of images could have been taken per day, it seems that the very earliest stereoviews by these photographers may have been taken in 1861 or possibly 1860.

A series of plain cream mounted early views, some shown above, are interesting. Some were later published as Tairraz/Savioz views. As they include a view of guides searching for their comrades, it seems that this series was published in 1861. A flexible approach to copyright in these days means that it is difficult to say for certain whether this series is by Tairraz or Savioz or both. The series could have been published in this format before increasing sales volume meant that a branded mount became cost effective.

So the theory is that Tairraz and Savioz joined forces in 1861 after Savioz returned from Paris. The liaison was short-lived and by 1863 both men were working individually.  Having pooled their portfolios for the joint venture, each took copies of the others work when they split. It is not clear whether either man published under his own individual name before the joint venture or only afterwards.

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