April 2011

Ingvald Iohannessen & Pablo Doffigny Exceptional, yet Forgotten Photographers

The Conservatory of Music in Cochabamba was founded
by the musician Teófilo Vargas in 1907.


The first known photographic records in Cochabamba are dated near 1850. Manuel Ugalde, an Ecuadorian, also known as Manuel de Ugalde (Cuenca/ Ecuador 1800–Cochabamba 1884), was most likely the first photographer of his kind in Cochabamba, where he lived for most of his life. According to the general census conducted by Enrique and Alejandro Soruco (1880) in the city of Cochabamba, there were four portrait photographers including Ugalde. Later on, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Federico Blanco’s Geographic Dictionary (1901) registered four photographers, two national and two foreign, based on the information from the National Census of 1900. These foreign photographers were, Ingvald Iohannessen and, his friend and partner, Paul Doffigny. Nothing is known about these two prominent foreign photographers. Where or when were they born? How, when, and why did they arrive in Cochabamba? Where did these two portraitphotographers live? Their existence is only evident through the large number of photographic portraits that have been preserved and the limited advertising data included in the local press.

Both photographers, Iohannessen and Doffigny, were mentors and guides to a whole generation of distinguished artists and photographer

The data collected from newspapers emphasizes that the speciality of “The Iohannessen & Doffigny Photographic Studio” was “the German photographic technique.” This technique provided the advantage of keeping glass plates of photographic records intact as well as being able to provide several copies of the same photograph. These services were part of the printed advertising on the back of photographs of the late nineteenth century and those of the early twentieth century. It should be noted that a detail appeared in the photographs recorded with the following message: Iohannessen & Doffigny, German Photography, Bolivia: “We are open every day. We have glass plates. Specialists in enlargements and copies using the latest procedures,” whereas in photographic records made during the 1920’s, there only appears the following note: “Iohannessen. German Photography. Cochabamba-Bolivia.” This last note clearly demonstrates that Pablo Doffigny left the partnership at some point in his life. As the photographs show, the “Iohannessen & Doffigny” photographic studio had a large amount of props, such as several “backgrounds” with beautiful settings, chairs, statues, pillars, as well as light sets to generate desired environments. Nobody knows what kind of cameras they had, but undoubtedly these cameras had to be German. In fact, Iohannessen & Doffigny were also importers of photographic cameras and accessories. Among these cameras was notably, the famous brand, Goerz, which used glass plates of two sizes: 9 x 12 and 13 x 18. That camera was the most popular among photographers and “amateur” artists in Cochabamba, so it was possible that the portraits that Iohannessen & Doffigny created had been made with a German camera.

Iohannessen and Doffigny made important portraits as a kind of photography in Cochabamba. These portraits achieved their importance not only through the high-quality techniques of the shots, but also in their capacity to show, through the different expressions, gestures, and poses of those portrayed, moral, religious, and even psychological profiles. Iohannessen and Doffigny’s photographs also used several technical characteristics including different shots by which portraits are taken. Although most were representative portraits that highlighted the figure shot, some were portraits that framed the whole figure, a careful dedication in all aspects related to portraits’ environmental stages. The purpose of this type of photograph is to intensify the transmitted message (strength, shyness, elegance, power and, so on) and, especially, to highlight the exceptional use of lights to generate different tones in order to show, with great subtlety, details that characterize the person portrayed.

Both photographers, Iohannessen and Doffigny, were mentors and guides to a whole generation of distinguished artists and photographers, who appeared in Cochabamba City in the first half of the twentieth century. This includes the prominent artist, Rodolfo “Turi” Torrico. In spite of all of the influence of Iohannessen and Doffigny, their work has not yet been appreciated and is just beginning to be noted by people in Cochabamba. Therefore, in the future, we should start: (1) A work of recovery and the subsequent publication of photographic records, found within family albums. (2) The assessment of all photographic work, not only in an aesthetic form and artistic dimension, but also as a relevant part of the visual memory of a period of time in the history of Cochabamba. (3)The appreciation of the role that these two exceptional artists and photographers had in the history and culture of Cochabamba.

Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológias
article was translated thanks to the agreement between Projects Abroad and the Departament of Ligüistica Aplicada a la Enseñanza de Lenguas - Faculty Advisor Mgr. Mónica Ruiz

Citya Castro

Calendario April 2011

Exposición de fotografía “Natura máxima- Ecuador esplendor de la biodiversidad”
Lunes 28 de marzo al 7 de abril
Organizan: IRD y Alianza Francesa
Chiquival 2011
Viernes 8
Cuenta cuentos “La vaca que puso un huevo” (a partir de 3 años)- ingreso libre
Obra de teatro familiar “El cóndor y el zorro” - Phajsi Teatro.

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