Felice Beato

(c. 1825—1907) photographer

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(1834–c.1907), Anglo-Greek photographer, born in Corfu. He spent his early career working with his brother-in-law James Robertson in Constantinople and Malta. In the late summer of 1855 he went to record the aftermath of the Crimean War and the following year visited Jerusalem with his brother Antonio, also a photographer, and Robertson. In February 1858 he arrived in Calcutta to document the Great Rebellion of 1857 and, although he missed the fighting, produced powerful photographs of the battle sites, often described as early examples of photojournalism. Beato left India in February 1860 and accompanied British troops to China to photograph the Second Opium War. In 1863 he moved to Japan, opening a studio in Yokohama to concentrate on landscape and portraits. Disaster struck on 26 October 1866 when fire destroyed his negatives, but Beato survived this loss, and gradually became known as one of Yokohama's more colourful characters. From Japan, he accompanied the US expedition to Korea in May 1871 and on his return continued to operate a successful studio until 1877, when he sold his entire stock to the photographer Raimund von Stillfried. Following unsuccessful financial speculation, he accompanied Wolseley's Sudan expedition in 1885, although no photographs appear to have survived. After briefly visiting London, Beato arrived in Burma in 1887. He established studios in Rangoon and Mandalay, also operating as a furniture and curio dealer. He probably died in Burma.

From The Oxford Companion to the Photograph in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Photography and Photographs.

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