Henri Plait opened his first photography store at 37, Rue LaFayette in Paris in 1910. After the outbreak of the war he was mobilised by the French army. He became ill and suffered from pleurisy. He was dismissed from military service after his recovery .
He returned to his photography store and started promoting a camera especially for the soldiers at the front. He marketed the Vest Pocket Kodak, a compact folding camera that used film and was easy to carry. The marketing slogan was “Le Kodak du Soldat” (The soldier’s Kodak).
He offered more services to the soldiers at the front. They could send their negatives by post. Photo-Plait developed the negatives and sent the images back to the photographer.
After the war Photo-Plait expanded its business activities and opened more stores in Paris. He started publishing the magazine La Photo Pour Tous (“Photo For Everyone”) . Undoubtedly, the goal was to get people excited about photography and encourage readers to buy products from Photo-Plait. The first edition of La Photo Pour Tous was published in 1923 and the magazine appeared until the outbreak of the Second World War. The richly illustrated magazine had 20 pages and was published monthly to subscribers. It covered both photography and cinema.
After a long history, the last Photo-Plait store closed its doors in the 1970s .
Selling war stereoviews
The catalog of 1918 – 1919  contains a detailed list of 14 series of 12 glass stereoviews. The slides are manufactured by La Stéréoscopie Universelle and have numbers in the 3200, 7000, 8300 and 8400 ranges. The catalog establishes the link between manufacturer and seller.
The catalog was published in June 1918. The war still raged and this explains the statement:
Éditions autorisée par le Ministère de la Guerre
(authorized by the Ministry of War).
All photographs were censored during the war. This prevented the population from seeing shocking images that could harm the support for the war.
The catalog of 1919  contains 100 series of 12 slides, but it only mentions the name of the series because now Photo-Plait offers special catalogs for the war stereoviews.
See also: blogposts about Photo-Plait
- Halgand, Sylvain. Photo-Plait : une petite histoire de la photographie française, April 2011. via: collection appareils
- Photo-Plait 1918-1919, June 1918
- Photo-Plait Catalogue Général, Autumn 1919