The collector is the true resident of the interior. The collector dreams his way not only into a distant or bygone world but also into a better one.
- Walter Benjamin
Nadar was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, one of the top photographer portraitists of 19th century France. Nadar is well-known for his society portraits, including those of Sarah Bernhardt (the best-known actress in late 19th century France) and other French cultural figures. He is also famous for his efforts to travel via hot air balloon, for which he raised funds by selling the photos that you see above -- his self-portrait in a balloon and the hot air balloon photo. His efforts culminated in the creation of Le Géant (The Giant), the largest hot air balloon of its time, which inspired Jules Verne to write Five Weeks in a Balloon. Unfortunately, Le Géant crashed near Hannover, Germany, though Nadar survived the crash and continued to photograph.