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Napoleonic Exile

Marcel Fortini, the Director of the Centre Méditerranéen de la Photographie in Corsica and a freelance photographer, sheds light on the island of Saint Helena, which was home to Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile from 1815 to 1821.

Better known as Napoleon the First, Bonaparte became the first French emperor in 1804. Under his reign, France established itself as a political and military power in Europe. From Spain to Russia via Italy, from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean, the French Empire made its mark. Until Napoleon's defeat and exile to the island of St Helena in 1815, where he died in 1821 at the age of 51.

© Marcel Fortini

© Marcel Fortini

"It was thanks to the toy soldiers of the First Empire that belonged to my father and Jean-Paul Kauffmann's travelogue 'La chambre noire de Longwood' that I came to St Helena. I've always had a great attraction for islands, so I decided to take an interest in this rock in the middle of the South Atlantic to photograph the landscapes of Napoleon's exile, thus continuing the construction of a singular personal archipelago", explains Marcel Fortini.

© Marcel Fortini

© Marcel Fortini


Sainte-Hélène by Marcel Fortini, to be published by Trans Photographic Press on 23 March 2024. Hardback, 72 pages, 62 photographs printed in two colours.

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