Notre Dame Portraits Celebrate Restoration With Vintage Photography

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Photo by Tomas van Houtryve / VII for National Geographic. Notre Dame’s decorative grotesques, or chimeras, perch on the bell towers and on the high gallery between them. They were added to the medieval cathedral when it was restored in the 19th century by the architect Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc. Van Houtryve took this and other pictures in this article using a 19th-century camera and glass plates.

Inspired by a portrait of Notre Dame Cathedral’s 19th-century architect, Tomas van Houtryve set out to connect the past with the present.

"I wanted to photograph the present-day architect and team of workers using the exact same technique, linking all these guardians of the cathedral across time."

Tomas van Houtryve

See the wet-collodion glass-plate portraits in National Geographic.