Search the Bridgeman archive by uploading an image. Drag your file here or click Browse below.
Please note that only low-res files should be uploaded. Results will return exact matches only. Any images with overlay of text may not produce accurate results. Details of larger images will search for their corresponding detail.
Drag file here
Processing search results
Search by Color
Choose your Colors
Add up to 5 colors and slide the dividers to adjust the composition
Add Color Block
Add keywords to refine your results
Léonard de Selva - Collection Gems
Bridgeman Images is proud to represent the Léonard de Selva image archive which comprises a diverse mix of photographs, illustrations and paintings which he collected over his lifetime
The Life and the photographic collection of Léonard de Selva
First of all, a physical appearance: an imposing silhouette, a leather jacket - or a canvas jacket - azure colour, big faded blue eyes, a squared haircut, a poetic smile and imposing bacchantes. A very 19th century look, between Balzac and Flaubert, animated by an atypical gait, heavy and airy at the same time, which did not cease to survey the world, the small one as the large one. Léonard de Selva, a sentimental photographer, with a graceful voice and polished words, curious about others and landscapes, was born somewhere, on the moon, he says, and in 1942.
Léonard de Selva grew up in Sarzeau, in Brittany with his father, a Spanish emigrant and oyster farmer. Léonard de Selva was one of nine children in his family.
His family lived in a house-castle between the golf course and the ocean. An epizootic got the better of the small farm in which they lived on so the Selva’s abandoned the open sea for the city, Vanne, Saint-Nazaire and then Paris.
Paris, the city where Selva discovered photography, by chance. Selva began working in Paris as an apprentice labourer before being employed by commercial photographer Jean-Pierre Sudre. Sudre, described by Jeanne Morcellet as a perfectionist, precise, meticulous master craftsman, introduced Selvas to the camera and showed him how to retouch and repaint with a brush.
In this period he learns the secret of photography: the grain, the nuances, the light. Behind the Pantheon, he spends hours in the lab. At the same time, Léonard de Selva travelled across France and the world photographing landscapes and people to illustrate tourist guides, reviews and magazines, later to embellish beautiful books and monographs.
He collaborates with all major French publishers, such as Hazan, Gallimard, Hachette, Bordas, Hatier, Laffond, Plon and Picquier.
Finally, images were used to feed exhibitions. The first exhibition was organised at the Cantini Museum in Marseille in 1968, at the invitation of Jean Pierre Sudre. To this first one, many more will follow in Paris, Montreal, Seoul, Vietnam, Arles, Vichy, Saint-Malo.
Léonard's photographic career is linked to his numerous trips. A commission from an agency, a publisher, a plane ticket with an open return, once the commission is completed, he stays on-site and browses in libraries, explores museums, rummages in the archives of collectors.
The passion for old documents, those that speak of a territory, a region, a country; the love for the unknown becomes the basis for his incredible archive. Selva forms alliances even if he doesn’t speak a foreign language as he is an excellent communicator.
"In a society where you don’t understand anything, if you go slowly, you can talk to the whole world’, ‘a photographer is a curious walker of the eye’ - Léonard de Selva"
The archives of Léonard de Selva contain a diverse mix of photographs, illustrations and paintings which he collected over his lifetime. Some of the collection's images are colourful, informative, decorative, older and contemporary. These images in this list hold individual narratives.
Selva’s images are full of intrigue and the experience of journeys that twist and turn. Images in this collection are driven by Selva’s intrigue in others, architecture and horizons. Elegance, style and harmony are all characteristics of Selva’s photographs and collections that enquire an invitation to closer looking!
The Tourneries, the name he uses to describe his 360° panoramic images, are made by juxtaposing 9 to 12 vertical photographs, taken with a wide-angle lens first on film and then digitally. He collated the tourneries together in a limited edition book that uses the Traditional Chinese bookbinding, also called stitched binding, which allowed him to be free from the strict booklet pagination and that highlighted the beauty of his work.