If the faces in the following photos are the same person:
And the faces in these photos are the same person:
Then the faces below are almost certainly not the same person:
Someone recently dug up a picture of Henri Lucereau and posted it online, and shortly thereafter it was revealed that Jean-Jacques Lefrère was soon to publish an article confirming that the man standing upright behind the others in the recent Aden/Rimbaud photo is indeed the young French explorer. (This was apparently established via contact with his descendants combined with the aid of three other photographs.) Knowing that this man is Lucereau -- assuming one of the other faces is correctly identified as Rimbaud -- provides important information because it helps date the photograph. (For more on Lucereau and why he's a figure of interest, see my previous post.)
It is known that Lucereau left Aden in July 1880 and was killed in the surroundings of Harar on October 20, 1880. Rimbaud arrived in Aden some time during the first half of August (possibly the 7th). Lucereau made a last passage through Aden between July and October, which, it has been said, can be dated to approximately the 10 - 20th of August. And at that time, Lucereau stayed at the Universe Hotel. Therefore, the photograph must be from August 1880 if both Lucereau and Rimbaud are in it.
The problem, however, is that Bardey was not in Aden for the entire month of August; he left in July to make his way towards Zeila, a port city on the Gulf of Aden. (He arrived in Harar around August 22.) Therefore, Bardey next to Lucereau excludes Rimbaud; the three of them simply cannot be there together at the Universe Hotel in August. Now, previously Jean-Jacques Lefrère said he was certain the man sitting on the end was Alfred Bardey, yet he's no longer sure (and thinks it probably isn't). More information is coming sometime in June, Lefrère says, that will hopefully clear up some of these issues. (Items dropped off at the Charleville-Mézières Rimbaud museum by Bardey's descendants, I think.) Indeed, Lefrère still believes it's Arthur Rimbaud in the photo (so do I). But we must wait to see the other portraits of Alfred Bardey, and also his brother, Pierre. And personally I would like to see pictures of Maurice Riès (bearded, second from left?), Cesar Tian, Vittorio and Giuseppe Bienenfeld, D. Pinchard, and a few others.
But who is that man, if not Bardey? Lefrère doesn't rule out the possibility that it's Colonel Dubar (brother-in-law of Jules Suel), or even Suel himself, who apparently is no longer marked as the checkered man in the photo. Bardey was only 26 in 1880, yet, in 1883 -- the year of the known photograph taken of him (see above) -- he's less-bald than he was three years earlier! I can think of no explanation for this except that he shaved his head in some bizarre style, which seems very far-fetched. Plus, he looks older -- or too old for 26 -- if that's really him in the Aden photo. (It is true that, once I finally decided it was probably Rimbaud in the photo, I also thought it was Bardey on the far left. If that's Rimbaud, I thought, then voila! that must be Bardey, his bearded boss! ...But I also didn't know that the picture of him I'm familiar with was taken after the Aden photo. Knowing this, it doesn't match up.)
Also worth noting: apparently there is a letter in which Bardey describes the chairs on the terrace of the Universe Hotel, and his description doesn't fit the chairs in the newly discovered photo...
Here is another photograph (Aden, around 1880) that was recovered in the same batch as the one being discussed. It's too blurry, I think, for anyone to make claims about any of the identities. Still, there is that mysterious figure at the center, le mythe de Rimbaud, and our imagination:
Finally, here are all the best photos (and comparisons) I could find of Rimbaud (mostly thanks to the great detective work done by members of the mag4.net Rimbaud forum). Ones that appear to be pictures I've already posted are best enlarged because they are in fact the sharpest (and largest) versions I've been able to find.
The following photo will be familiar to all Rimbaud enthusiasts but I'm posting it because I've never seen it so cleaned up: