Laure Albin-Guillot


French photographer Laure Albin-Guillot (1879-1962) was known for her reflective portraiture, delicate nudes, compelling landscapes, and micrography. Her commercial work ranged from fashion photography, advertizing, and contract design.Her images are marked by both the aesthetics of pictorialism and the composition of modernism, and have today become extremely collectable. Her greatest achievement, however, will certainly be credited towards archiving the work of others and leading museum efforts to create permanent photography wings. In doing so, she left behind not only her own legacy but provided the venue for many of her contemporaries and predecessors.Albin-Guillot became interested in photography soon after her marriage in 1897, focusing on portraits of her husband’s friends: architects, writers, and politicians. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, she focused on design precepts of the New Vision for Bon Marché and Renault. She also created soft-focus pictorialist nudes that appeared in artistic photography journals and as illustrations in volumes of poetry. Many of her images were exhibited and others, reproduced in “Arts et métiers graphiques”.In 1922, she was awarded the gold medal by the French Revue of Photography.
 At a time when many photographers were indifferent to the quality of prints intended for reproduction, Albin-Guillot sought to invest hers with artistry and individuality. In tandem with her husband’s research in micrography and in collaboration with Pierre Fresson, she published a volume of 24 photomicrographs of crystals … exquisitely printed on various colored and metallic papers. Later, she and Fresson also collaborated on similar works, which were used as elements of the luxury liner Normandie’s interior design.As chief archivist in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts' photographic archives, she actively sought to get photography officially recognized and preserved. In 1933, she helped create the national Cinemathèque at the Palais de Chaillot, as well as its photography museum. She became friends with many notable French literary figures including André Gide, Jean Cocteau and Paul Valery, creating memorable portraits of them and often providing images for their works.

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