Pierre-Louis Pierson (1822-1913)
Are we looking at the picture or is the picture looking at us?
The Countess Castiglione was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, and certainly her
life was just as captivating. She was an Italian spy and a shrewd chameleon in her public image. The
Countess collaborated with photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson to create a portfolio of over 90 portraits
depicting her as various women of history and allegory. This pose, in which the Countess merely holds an
empty photo frame over one eye, anticipates the work of the French surrealists many years later.
Abrams Encyclopedia of Photography.
Copyright © 2009 Shree Nayar. Computer Vision Laboratory,
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