- About Albuisson
- Awards Won (MOF)
- France 2006-2010
- Monaco 1986-1989
- Monaco 2006-2010
Overseas Domains &
- New Caledonia
- TAAF 1997-2000
- TAAF 2001-2005
- TAAF 2006-2010
- The Author
The only stamp Pierre Albuisson has engraved for French
Polynesia is this one from 1996, that was issued for Stamp Day 1996. The
photographer is Henri Lemasson, of whom little is known, except that he
established a photographic studio in Polynesia. Do you have a feeling of having
seen this portrait before? At a first glance the stamp looks very much like a
painting by the French painter Paul Gauguin -- please read on.
The exploration of the Pacific by the end of the 18th century
nurtured an imagination in the western world, which reflected both their dreams
and desires for liberty.
With the invention of photography, Tahiti
came to play an important role of preservation; the image of "Modern
Man" is reflected in the mirror of a society at the time considered
archaic, with regard to finding his original roots.
The Maori becomes
"the negative" of the West, and the concept of the island, an
isolated and closed world, strongly symbolic, amplifies this
Travellers in Polynesia often witness a feeling of
perfection, a state of merger with the environment; the perfection of a
primitive life in complete communion with nature, returning to the
origins, will in itself constitute enough elements for finding the lost
happiness of childhood.
The first photographic proofs from Tahiti and the Marquesa
Islands are extremely rare. Located away from the beaten maritime routes
and communication, this media of expression came late to Polynesia.
As colonial life little by little became organized, western
photographers, including Henri Lemasson, established their studios to be
visited by both the western establishment and the original islanders, and the
local women often got a "career" as models.
The French painter Paul
Gauguin was inspired by one of these proofs, and met finally Henri Lemasson,
whose photographs often became the models for the painter.
During the 20th century, it was among others Henri Matisse, who
was inspired by such photographs.
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