Emile Guiton

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Emile Guiton


Emile Guiton was probably the most prolific of the Jersey photographers who chronicled island life during the first half of the 20th century. A substantial collection of his pictures is contained in the photographic archive of La Société Jersiaise and 781 of these can be viewed on line

Emile Guiton with his family on a tandem and trailer - probably a self-portrait using a camera with a shutter with a time delay
One of Guiton's pictures of the proclamation of Edward VII in the Royal Square

Born in Jersey in 1879 he had a keen interest in history and was a member of La Société Jersiaise, served on its executive committee as joint honorary secretary, and was curator of the Museum and editor of the Annual Bulletin.

He also realised that history was being made during his own lifetime and he recorded the development of his native island from the turn of the century until his death in 1972. He experimented with Autochrome colour very early in the century.

A 1907 newspaper article recording Guiton's early experiments with colour photography

Not only did he record events and activities during his own lifetime, particularly agriculture, but he had a fascination with the past and chronicled with his images many archaeological excavations (his pictures of the interior of La Hougue Bie remain some of the best in existence) as well as photographing Mont Orgueil Castle and other coastal fortifications, sites of geological interest, and architecture. Guiton had a particular interest in the design of Jersey houses over the centuries, and particularly in different styles of arches to be found in the island.

He was present at many major events, including the Liberation in 1945 (he had also taken photographs during the German Occupation, and the proclamations of successive monarchs in the Royal Square.

Emile Guiton was a keen amateur photographer and practised throughout his long life. He experimented with colour at the beginning of the twentieth century in "Autochromes". His subjects include the recording of archaeological excavations and he was one of the few people in Jersey permitted to take photographs during the German Occupation of 1940 - 1945. Emile Guiton also recognised very early on the importance of collecting photographs, both as a valuable social historic resource and as interesting artefacts - examples of developments in science and technology. He donated many images to the Société Jersiaise. He died in 1972.

Family tree

The permit issued to Emile Guiton by the Germans permitting him to take photographs during the Occupation. These were very few in number
Despite having this permit, Guiton strayed beyond the area permitted and was sentenced to three days in preison

Colour photographs

Emile Guiton was one of the earliest photographers to take colour images using the Lumiere Autochrome process, which became the first commercially available colour photography process when it reached the market in 1907.

The first two photographs below, taken by Guiton in 1911, some four years after he became one of the first Lumiere Authchrome customers, are in the photography archive of La Société Jersiaise

Marett Road, pictured here looking inland from Havre des Pas has only one known claim to fame: It was the subject of possibly the first colour photograph of a St Helier street

Children in Park
This Jersey farming scene was also taken at about the same time, but it is not clear whether it is the work of Emile Guiton. It has the appearance of being taken earlier than the two 1911 images
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