Little is known about the life of Jean Agélou. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1878. He was the main photographer for the magazine L'Ètude Académique. This magazine contained images of nude male and female models that were intended as studies for artists like sculptors, painters and photographers.
A female model that appears often in his erotic photos is Fernande. She was his muse and he photographed her during various stages of her life. We don't know much about her. She might have been a prostitute and maybe she was Jean's lover. With her he created his best work.
Jean started with his brother Georges the production and publishing of French Postcards that became very popular during La Belle Époque, the golden age of erotic photography. His photo studio was located at Rue Armand Gauthier in Paris. Jean and Georges died in a car accident in 1921.
Jean Agélou's photos were taken in a studio and are of high technical and artistic quality. The printed photographs are signed with the initials J.A.. Erotic photography was not generally accepted and therefore the full name of photographers was not published.
Jean Agélou stereoviews
Stereo photos of Jean Agélou are more rare than his French Postcards. In 1906, he produced a series of at least 236 photos in 9x16cm format. These were branded Stéréo Nu (Stereo Nude) and can be recognised by the abbreviation S.N. They were available as glass stereoviews and paper stereocards and sold individually or in sets of 12 or 25. They were also marketed through a bimonthly magazine Le Stéréo-Nu. Each copy included 12 stereo images. The reader could cut out the views and place them in a stereoscope.
From 1911, Agélou published at least 41 series of stereo photos on paper with the J.A. logo. My stereoviews are from these series. Some stereoviews are paper stereocards with an unusual size of 9 x 15cm. I've not seen stereocards in this format before. One of these cards is cropped, perhaps done by the original owner to make it fit for his stereoscope. I've also seen these sizes mounted on 8,5 x 17cm cardboards. This format was more common and supported by many stereoscopes. The other stereocards in my collection are in this more common format.
Jules Richard published his erotic stereo photos as glass stereoviews but Agélou's photos with the J.A. logo were only available as paper stereocards. Nudity in photographs was banned in France in 1908. Erotic images were often secretly sold by street vendors and I think that paper stereocards were easier to trade than the fragile and more expensive glass slides.
- Jean Agélou - De l'académisme à la photographie de charme, Christian Bourdon, 2006
- Stereo nudes 1850-1930, S. Nazerieff, 1985
- French postcard via Wikipedia