Tahiti.Таити | Silvain
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Adolphe Sylvain (1920-1991) stopped off in Tahiti in 1946 and, enchanted by the beautiful landscape, welcoming people, and a certain island beauty who called herself Tehani, decided to stay. He settled in and eventually married his hypnotic lover, working as a correspondent for magazines such as Paris Match, Life, and National Geographic. Drawn by an irrepressible desire to capture his surroundings and to share this lost, unknown world with those outside of it, he dedicated himself to photographing the island's many delights. Like Rousseau and Gauguin before him, he was captive to the people and places of a land so radically different from his own and chose it as his principal subject matter. Sylvain's rich, skilled black-and-white images are like visions of an earthly paradise, peopled with half-clad women wearing flowers in their hair, the sun reflecting off of their glowing skin. His images, capturing the timeless beauty of Tahiti, are a testament to the island's powerful magnetism. After Sylvain's death, his widow Jeanine-Tehani had a dream that a European embarked upon her island country and that she gave to this person all of her husband's photos to be made into a book. In a storybook twist of fate, it just so happened that Tehani's dream became a reality when photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri- born on the same day and hour as Sylvain- stopped off for a visit a few years later. He was mesmerized by Sylvain's photographs and eagerly gathered together his work to take back to Europe. Thus was born Tahiti, woven together by the strands of destiny and the vision of an impassioned photographer. Tahiti begins with a preface by Barbieri and an introduction by biographer, journalist, and longtime friend of Sylvain, Jean Lacouture, followed by Sylvain's best works, including landscapes, portraits, and images of celebrities visiting the island (such as Brigitte Bardot, Marlon Brando, and Charles de Gaulle). With these luscious, sensual images as evidence, it's not hard to see why Sylvain was enraptured by Tahiti's exotic, ethereal atmosphere, nor why he felt the need to photograph it. Sylvain's work has not met the success it deserves until now, as fate finally brings his photographs to the world with this retrospective tribute.