By the end of the 19th century, Napoleon Sarony was not only an outstanding portraitist, but a pioneer of celebrity photography and the cultural industry. He produced the most memorable images of personalities such as Oscar Wilde, Tchaïkovski, Sarah Bernard, Verdi or Mark Twain.

125 years later, what would have been the life of Sarony ? This documentary that dares to compare the life of a 19th century pioneer with that of three present day photographers.

The documentary presents Sarony’s life in three parts. Summer is when he opens his first photography studio and starts his career in England. His move to New-York City and the rise to fame is summarized by Fall. Finally, Winter is when he battles fatigue and searches for a different role as an artist. We will discover his artistic approach, his business acumen and even learn about his famous battle for copyright.

In parallel, three photographers of today with well established careers as celebrity photographers share their motivations and uncertainties. Chris Buck, Stephanie Diani and Jocelyn Michel will discuss heartfelt stories of their beginnings, their balance between art and business and what keeps them motivated.

Through the experience of each photographer, the quest for an artistic identity becomes the focal point of the film. Are we photographers, business people, artists? Does money define us as a commercial photographers, does it take us away from art ? How to define yourself as a photographer? The experience of Sarony, figure of the 19th century, and the experiences of our present-day photographers are compared. Their transition to photography raised several questions. What were their doubts, their fears and their convictions before taking the step towards an enviable but insecure job ? What are the challenges that persist? What is it like to be a creator in the industry of culture? Finally, in Sarony’s footsteps, what may make a photographer fall to his knees and how to get back up?
Christian Fleury
Christian Fleury
Christian Fleury
37 Minutes
Montreal, Canada
Watch the Trailer
1/26/20 3:15pm at Cité des Arts
1/24/20 7:30pm at Vermilionville
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