Photographer of Animals
Jean Tournassoud is one of the finest photographers of domesticated animals of the twentieth century. His sharp eye and his sense of anticipation enabled him to produce many exceptional photographs.
Major Tournassoud had a natural sympathy for all kinds of animals; like a painter, he produced portraits of domestic pets (cats, dogs), farmyard animals (roosters and hens, ducks, geese and also bulls, cows, pigs, goats and sheep) with a predilection for the horses such as stud farm horses, draw or ploughing horses and circus horses. When the Lyon (France) based Circus Rancy stopped in Montmerle sur Saone, the village where he lived, the Major asked the riders to rehearse their acts in the fields in front of his camera. Tournassoud himself was an expert rider, and in many of his portraits he is seen in the saddle of very elite horses.
Tournassoud particularly focused his work on horse farms (Haras of Cluny, Haras de Blingel).He also did a lot of work on the subject of poultry breeding (poultry farming of the Haras de Blingel, poultries of the Bresse region, the poultry cooperative of Bourg en Bresse) as well as on dog kennels ("My dogs in Field-trials and in shows, Kennel of Jean Côte, St Paul de Varax" and "Catalogue of the 1934 International Canine Exhibition)
He documented many animal markets and trade fairs( the poultry market of Bourg en Bresse, "les Glorieuses" Christmas market in fine poultries, the Montmerle annual horse fair) and the herds of bulls and flocks of sheep in the Camargue region (south of France). He was also interested in the care given to the animals such as the shoe-fitting at the shoeing marshal, the intervention of the veterinary surgeon, the caponage of poultries etc.
Many of his animal pictures were marketed in the form of postcards or in picture albums, including a beautiful work titled "The Great Thoroughbred Stallions of France"
Through his animal's photographs, Tournassoud acquired great notoriety and received commissions in France and in England.