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Etienne Carjat

Étienne Carjat (1828-1906), was a French journalist, caricaturist and photographer. Seventeen-year old Rimbaud met photographer him at a dinner for Les villains bonhommes, a bohemian group both Rimbaud and Verlaine were members of. In October 1871, Rimbaud set in Carjat’s Notre-Dame-de-Lorette studio for a photo session, where the above photo was taken. The iconic photo was since immortalized as the symbol of poetry, youth, rebellion and romance — the photo even put on plates and cushions in France. In fact, Carjat took many photos of Rimbaud but in January 1872, during another Les villains bonhommes dinner, two quarreled, and Rimbaud wounded Carjat with Albert Merat’s cane-sword. In response, Carjat destroyed all photographs he took of Rimbaud. Today only eight photographs of Rimbaud by Carjat which were given to friends between October ’71 and January ’72 survived.