The Parisian gallery Jeu de Paume is honoring the photographer who dominated the aesthetic trends of the Second World War in an on-going display entitled Laure Albin Guillot: Outside the Walls.
Laure Albin Guillot's early years in photography started in her own studio on Rue du Ranelagh. From there, she published her fashion photographs for Vogue in 1922. Soon, she earned exhibition spots in the Salon International de Photographie and the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs, which were both premium galleries. In 1925, she exhibited in the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts — a World Fair designed to highlight contemporary French architecture, interior decoration, furniture, glass, jewellery and more.
When her husband died in 1929, she immersed herself in fashion and celebrity portraiture, shooting profiles of Paul Valéry, Colette, Anna de Noailles, and Jean Cocteau. Her truly groundbreaking work, however, was her series of micography. Through her micography, she became the first person in France to apply decorative application to research, and this is was made her renowned to the budding Parisian photography community. She was married to a researcher and specialist in microscopy, whom scholars have identified as an influence on her series. As the Jeu de Paume explains, this is just one Albin Guillot's many specialities:
“The photography of Laure Albin Guillot was one of the most fashionable in the inter-war period. Her first works appear in trade shows and publications as early as the early 1920s, but it's essentially during the 1930s and 1940s that Laure Albin Guillot, both artist and institutional figure, occupies and dominates the scene French photographic. An independent photographer, she devotes herself to various genres such as portraits, nudes, landscape, still life and, to a lesser extent, reporting. An outstanding technician and photographer of her time, she uses the new modes of image diffusion and provides the press and publishing with illustrations and advertising creations.”
Albin Guillot's style is distinguished through her tasteful choices in framing and composition. Her works from the 1920s are quite classical in style, contrasting to the boom of avant-garde photography, but things change during the 1930s as she becomes more experimental and explorative, not only of technique and aesthetic, but also of genre and photographic technology, using the very latest methods of image printing and production. Albin Guillot's retrospective is on display in Jeu de Paume until 25 November 2018.
Images by Laure Albin Guillot, courtesy of Jeu de Paume.