Frédéric Gadmer was the cameraman who shot some six-seven hours of footage for Albert Kahn’s Archives de la planète on vodoun religious ceremonies and other topics in Dahomey (Benin) when travelling with Père Francis Aupiais in 1929-30.
Gadmer began working for Kahn in 1919. Prior to that he had worked as an army cameraman and photographer. In 1917-18, he had travelled all over Cameroon taking 3000 images of the territory that the French had recently taken over from the Germans. Once he started to work for Kahn, he travelled widely, shooting material in the Middle East, in various locations from Turkey to Afghanistan, as well as in Europe.
After Dahomey, he filmed the 1931 Exposition Coloniale Internationale and also went to Tunisia. He shot his last material for Kahn in 1932 when the Archives de la planète project came to an end after Kahn lost much of his fortune in the stock market crash of 1929.
Text : Clet-Bonnet 1996.