Isn´t life funny? Just this morning I was going through some old pictures and documents (and sneezing all the time), when I found a letter I received from a Brazilian lady who lived in Portland, when I was living in Corvallis, OR. We met in a get together for Brazilian expats and, during our conversation, we found out that we were from the same town. She asked my last name and when I told her it was Lhullier, she asked: Are you related to Baptista Lhullier? It turns out she had a photograph of her mother taken by my great-grandfather, Jean-Baptiste Lhuillier, or Baptista Lhullier.
Now, this lady, who was in her late sixties when we met, had to move with her family to another town during WWII, because their business had been burned down by protesters. The family descended from Germans, and only for that reason some stupid people (they´re the same everywhere) thought they might be nazi sympathizers. Many years later,in her new town, Porto Alegre, she met her husband, an American, and went to live in the U.S.
I told her that my great grand-father´s home had been burned down in France, and that was why he had come to Brazil in the middle of the 19th century, as a young man and a photographer´s apprentice. He was caught right in the middle of Les Misérables plot , in an anti-Órleanist revolution, suffering the consequences of something he hadn´t started.The whole family got whatever they had left and came to Pelotas, in Southern Brazil. There they established their business and prospered.
My great- grandfather changed his name to Baptista Lhullier and, together with his brother-in-law, Charles Sérres, opened the first photographic studio in Pelotas, in the 1850´s. In my Images section there is a photograph of my grandfather, Alfredo, taken by his father, Baptista.
I find those kind of stories fascinating. They make the world a smaller and richer place.
Who knows? Maybe one of these days I might drop by San Francisco, New York, Mumbai, London, Galway,Algiers etc to take a picture and say hello.