|Legend has it that photography is indebted to Napoléon III for the success of the carte-de-visite and the ‘Cartomania’ of the 1860's. Patented by Disdéri in 1854, the craze supposedly didn't take off until the Emperor, leading his army to war in Italy, made an impromptual stop in order to have his portrait taken in the new format at Disdéri's studio on the Boulevard des Italiens.
Unfortunately, the story is apocryphal. Research has shown that the French army did not pass down the Boulevard des Italiens on its way to the war, and furthermore, that it left Paris late in the evening when there was not enough natural light for any photographer to operate.
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