Emile Guiton

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Photographer Emile Guiton
One of Guiton's pictures of the proclamation of Edward VII in the Royal Square

Emile Guiton was probably the most prolific of the Jersey photographers who chronicled island life during the first half of the 20th century. A substantial collection of his pictures is contained in the photographic archive of La Société Jersiaise and 781 of these can be viewed on line.

Emile Guiton with his family on a tandem and trailer

Born in Jersey in 1879 he had a keen interest in history and was a member of La Société Jersiaise, served on its executive committee as joint honorary secretary, and was curator of the Museum and editor of the Annual Bulletin.

He also realised that history was being made during his own lifetime and he recorded the development of his native island from the turn of the century until his death in 1972. He experimented with Autochrome colour very early in the century.

Not only did he record events and activities during his own lifetime, particularly agriculture, but he had a fascination with the past and chronicled with his images many archaeological excavations (his pictures of the interior of La Hougue Bie remain some of the best in existence) as well as photographing Mont Orgueil Castle and other coastal fortifications, sites of geological interest, and architecture. Guiton had a particular interest in the design of Jersey houses over the centuries, and particularly in different styles of arches to be found in the island.

He was present at many major events, including the Liberation in 1945 (he had also taken photographs during the German Occupation, and the proclamations of successive monarchs in the Royal Square.

Emile Guiton was a keen amateur photographer and practised throughout his long life. He experimented with colour at the beginning of the twentieth century in "Autochromes". His subjects include the recording of archaeological excavations and he was one of the few people in Jersey permitted to take photographs during the German Occupation of 1940 - 1945. Emile Guiton also recognised very early on the importance of collecting photographs, both as a valuable social historic resource and as interesting artefacts - examples of developments in science and technology. He donated many images to the Société Jersiaise. He died in 1972.

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