(Francia 1830 / Argentina 1869)
He was a photographer who was born in France and emigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the 1950s.
He was originally a surveyor and began to devote himself to photography when he arrived in this city. Many of the photographs that are preserved do not have his signature, but are attributed to him for bearing the stamp of his studio "25 de Mayo 25". He was the editor of the first album by the negative-positive system in Argentina.
In 1864 his shots were used to make lithographs and to be published in newspapers; these reflected rural life and customs showing natives and peasants. Although he took urban photos, the most important ones for documentary photography are those of rural origin.
In most of his photographs he sought to expose the most typical of the paisano, stereotyping Argentine customs, using objects as symbols that would help form an iconic language in the images. These were sold abroad -especially in Europe-, where travel or faraway photography was gaining popularity.
Gonnet published two photo albums in 1864: "Recuerdos de Buenos Ayres" and "Recuerdos de la Campaña de Buenos Ayres", each containing 20 albumen copies. For a long time, these albums had been attributed to his colleague Benito Panunzi. The historical research carried out for the edition of the book "Buenos Aires city and campaign. Photographs of Esteban Gonnet, Benito Panunzi and others 1860-1870" published by the Antorchas Foundation, established that many of the photographs attributed to Panunzi, were in fact the work of Gonnet.