de Selys Longchamps, Raphaël (Baron)



Person (Male)

Alternative name or descriptor

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules


  • Amateur


Life dates

Liège, 1841 - Waremme, 1911


1875 - 1911 + Liège then Waremme
Michel Ferdinand Raphaël, ° 20.11.1841; + 11.1.1911. Landowner. Former cavalry lieutenant. Son of the naturalist Michel-Edmond de Selys Longchamps (1813-1900), from whom he inherited a love for nature and science, and who introduced him to scientists in Liège who were also amateur photographers: Ernest Candèze, Oscar Lamarche and Edouard Van Beneden. Besides field cameras and the Candèze scenograph, he used other, more curious cameras such as the Stirn spy camera (1887) or the photogenic revolver (1890). In 1882 he perfected an instantaneous shutter, based on the principle of the guillotine shutters and on the Candèze shutter, which had a sort of winch between two lenses. An enthousiastic experimenter, he took night photographs in 1887, requiring two hours exposure.
His work includes staged scenes full of charm, revealing everyday aristocratic life in the 19th century. He also recorded rural life, municipal and military events (manoeuvres by the Lancers). He recorded the different stages in the construction of the Gileppe barrage around 1876, and brought back numerous views from his trips to France - Brittany, Contrexéville, Nancy, Paris (International Exhibition of 1900), Germany, the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg. His humorous personality was at the root of projects which gave free rein to his imagination: he turned to photo-montage and to the use of special effects, and, sometimes, he dressed up his relatives to include them in his tableaux. The eclectic nature and high quality of his large output make Raphaël de Selys Longchamps the outstanding representative of the amateur photographer of the late 19th century.
Member of the ABP from 11.5.1875. Vice-president of the ABP from 1880 until 1887; of the Liège section, he alternated between vice-presidency (1879, 1882-1883, and 1885-86) and presidency (1879-1881, 1883, 1886-87). Holdings of 1800 glass negaives and about 1500 prints in the "Musée de la Photographie", Charleroi and some others in the "Musée de la Vie Wallonne", Liège.


1875 - 1911 + Liège then Waremme


Brussels, 1880; Brussels, 1883; Liège, 1892.

Genres / subject matter



DE NAEYER, Christine. Raphaël de Selys Longchamps. Un photographe amateur au XIXème siècle. Charleroi, 1999, 56 pp.
DAVID, Michel F., DELREZ, Anne & ROSSION, Adeline. En dilettante. Histoire et petites histoires de la photographie amateur. Charleroi & Tavier, 2022, 426 + (i) pp: "L’Association belge de Photographie (ABP). L’exemple de Raphaël de Sélys Longchamps, d’Adolphe Lacomblé et de Léon Delange", pp. 151-201.



Affiliated entity

Association belge de Photographie

Type of affiliation

Member of

Dates of affiliation

1875 - 1911

Description of relationship


Record source



Level of detail

Dates of creation/revision

SFJ revised 15.4.2017, 4.5.2018, 26.12.2018, 15.5.2019, 28.3.2020 & 22.12.2023




Maintenance notes