Félix Nadar, born April 6 1820, was the pseudonym of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, an early French photographer. He was the first to take aerial photographs, for which he used a hot air balloon. Nadar was also the first to experiment with artificial lighting, which he perfected in the creepy Paris catacombs. He worked closely with Jules Verne on ballooning and was the inspiration for one of the characters in a Verne novel. In 1874, he loaned his photography studio for an exhibition to a certain group of artists that might not have otherwise become known as the Impressionists but for the free space.
Nadar photographed le tout Paris (luh too Paree), or everybody who was anybody, including actress Sarah Bernhardt, poet Charles Baudelaire, painter Eugène Delacroix, president Georges Clemenceau, writers Alexandre Dumas and George Sand, and composer Franz Liszt. One of his more unusual commissions was a portrait of Victor Hugo on his deathbed. He lived to the ripe old age of 90, but he lives on in the Prix Nadar given every year to a photojournalism book edited in France.