Arthur Batut Museum

Wide-angle photographs from a kite - among the first aerial photos ever taken

Simple but ingenious: in 1888, Arthur Batut, a passionate photographer, transfered his camera on to a kite and sent it into the skies. Satellite photographs were only a step away...

The Arthur Batut museum, inaugurated, a century after his first aerial photos, on the site of his first exploits, in Labruguière near Castres in the Tarn (see aerial photo taken from a kite).

Photos, archives, equipment are exhibited at the shade of the original kite whose the frame has survived the century unscathed. There are also other examples of his ingenuity, including an automatic shutter release which used a small explosive devise and a long fuse.

Insatiable, Batut experimented with all areas of photography: autochromes, stereoscopic photographs (a technique used to obtain topographic views), and photosynthesis. Also on view are Batut's "portraits-types" or trait photos, which show images of several people, of similar origins, superimposed on the same photographic plate.

Arthur Batut

A panorama of aerial photographs of the region, taken using different methods is also offered, from the spy-pigeon or pigeon-transported camera (very imprecise!) to the Spot Satellite (much more easy to control).

Thrilling also are Batut's correspondence with numerous keen autodidacts, whether friends, rivals or critics. Batut's passion is still contagious a century later, and the museum and all its exhibits put a spell on the visitor.

The Batut museum now has a new site

Arthur Batut Museum
Photographs by Kite
9 ter, rue Gambetta
81290 Labruguière
Tel: 05 63 50 22 18/05 63 70 34 01
Open from 15:00 to 18:00, closed on tuesday

ÓChantal Moret & Mike Briley 1999-2006