My grand-father had always been a great fan of photography. As a photographer himself he did some exhibitions with his own pictures and had the opportunity to share his passion with many people.
During one of his exposition for the « Week of Arts » at the Lanvignec Junior High School of Paimpol the school bursar told him she had very old pictures in her attic and would like to share them with him. These pictures were in fact photographic glass plates taken between 1903 and 1905 in China by the old landlord. My grand-father who was very interested in sharing these began to take pictures of the plates using his own camera and developed them in his photography studio.
He then proceeded to make contact with the family of the original photographer, Leon Collos, a sailor, and his grandson encouraged him to pursue his work in order to honor the officer's memory.
Leon Collos was a sailor during the 1900's, he was born in Noumea in 1879 and died aboard the Kleber in 1917 after the ship was hit by a mine. Collos was honoured afterwards for his bravery during the sinking. He stayed aboard the ship until the last sailors could escape, and continued leading his men with great self-control.
Old picture of the Kleber crew.
Nowadays the Kleber wreck can be found near the Brest harbor, in Brittany, and many scuba-divers like to explore it as it was very well conserved. You can find pictures of the Kleber taken by Hervé Severe in may 2003 on this website and also watch this video made by the CSA Diving Club of Brest which regularly goes diving near the wreck by clicking this link.
Picture of the Olry taken by the crew of the english gunboat Kinsha. Source
During his career in the navy he was an officer on the Olry, a french gunboat that travelled along the Yangtze river in China. He stayed 3 years on this boat and had the occasion to take pictures shown here.
Boats and harbours:
Near the river:
Original pictures by Leon Collos taken between 1903 and 1905, rediscovered and scanned by Jean-Claude Baron, arranged digitally by Witold Chudy and Marie Baron.
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|Written by : Marie Baron
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