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Felice Beato

Felice Beato

One of the first people to photograph East Asia and document battles of war, Beato (1832–1909) Beato was a widely traveled photographer who created images of countries, people, and events that were unfamiliar and remote to most people in Europe and North America, laying the foundation for photojournalism. Part artist and part ethnographer, he opened a photography and curio shop where he would assemble compilations of photographs on the customers’ requested location or topics, from samurai in Japan to battle scenes in China.

Felice Beato was the older brother of photographer Antonio Beato (1832–1909), with whom he sometimes worked. Because of the existence of a number of photographs signed "Felice Antonio Beato" and "Felice A. Beato", it was long assumed that there was one photographer Felice Beato who somehow managed to photograph at the same time in places as distant as Egypt and Japan. But in 1983 it was shown that "Felice Antonio Beato" represented two brothers, Felice and Antonio, who when working together would share a signature.