Passage de la Tête Noire

Accession Number

Passage de la Tête Noire

Adolphe Braun

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1865-1875

Medium & Support
albumen print on paper

18 13/16 in x 14 3/8 in (47.78 cm x 36.51 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Frederick P. and Amy McCombs Currier

Subject matter
In this photograph of the Tête-Noire, a mountain gorge in southwest Switzerland, Adolphe Braun focuses on the narrow passage that winds its way around and through the rocky precipice, producing a pin-prick of light at the center of the dark land mass. Braun accentuates the mountain's steepness by framing the nearly vertical incline of the foreground mountain, dotted along its periphery with Alpine trees, which bisects the center of the composition and runs from the lower right margin to the upper left corner. The breadth and extent of the mountain range is conveyed by juxtaposing the Tête-Noire with the hazy form of another mountain in the distance. Braun's sophisticated compositional treatment of the subject emphasizes the drama and beauty of the Swiss topography, while concentrating on a moment of human intervention through the central framing of the fence-lined path. The image no doubt appealed to tourists, some of whom may have made the ascent themselves, and it was issued in a stereograph format as well as this larger albumen print.

Physical Description
View of a mountain gorge with a fenced-in tunnel path carved through it.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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mountain climbing
mountain ranges
panoramic photography
passages (circulation spaces)
rail fences

5 Related Resources

Nature in Photography
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& Author Notes

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