Laure Albin-Guillot was born Laure Maffredi in 1879 in Paris. Albin-Guillot studied drawing and painting before becoming interested in photography. At age eighteen, she married a scientific researcher and began to take an interest in the world as seen through the lens of the microscope. Among some of her scientific subjects included microscopic specimens, plant cells, and animal organisms.
Albin-Guillot was known for incorporating pictorial elements into her work and for her overall technical mastery of the medium. Her work won her praise in the form of a gold medal at a contest sponsored by Revue Francaise de Photographie in 1922. In 1925, she went on to have the first one-person exhibition with forty prints at the Paris Autumn Salon and from there steadily grew in notoriety, publishing works in Vu and Arts & Metiers Graphiques magazines. Albin-Guillot also served as president of the French Societe des Artistes Photographes and in June of 1928, was included in the first independent Salon of Photography in Paris held at the Theatre de Champs-Elysees.
The photographer was most prominent in the 1930s and 40s, when she developed her signature quasi-pictorial style. Among her most surprising works were a series of male nudes taken for Henry de Motherlant’s La Deesse Cypris, which was published in 1932. The strongly cropped images in which the male nudes fill the entire frame accompany the author’s text about sensuality. The following year, Albin-Guillot collaborated with the poet Paul Valery on Le Narcisse, again depicting erotic subject matter. Albin-Guillot remained passionate about photography throughout her life and strove to have the art form formally recognized in her lifetime. She is distinguished for her wide breadth in subjects and her facility producing images enhanced with pictorial elements.Jacqueline Gilbert