A message from Dr Gilles Baud-Berthier, Director of the Musée Albert-Kahn, which ensures Albert Kahn's legacy is preserved and made available for future generations to enjoy:
"Colour images have changed the way we see the world. The defining moment came when we saw our own blue planet from space – and, indeed, from the moon. That magnificent image now sums up the life we share in our global destiny. But our world had first been shown in colour some time before.
"From every corner of the globe – which still seemed so vast and was not yet fully explored and mapped - Albert Kahn's teams of cameramen brought back testimonies of human life, in colour photographs and on film. These were not works of reportage or ethnography, nor an attempt to produce works of art. The aim was simply to record human beings in all their diversity, living humble lives worthy of respect. And from this respect would, Kahn hoped, arise the universal peace to which he aspired. Kahn's lifetime was not a happy one for a pacifist, since it included three terrible wars that involved his homeland. Yet he retained his faith in humanity and believed firmly in his mission, pursuing it to the full.
"The BBC and the Musée Albert-Kahn have now joined forces to bring this ode to life and humanity to a wider public. From a fertile exchange of experience and expertise have come a series of television documentaries, a book and DVDs that reflect our shared ambitions. They also mark fifty years of effort by the French département of Hauts-de-Seine, owner of the Kahn collections, to preserve and enhance awareness of this exceptional heritage. Today, thanks to the combined talents of the BBC teams, David Okuefuna, BBC Books and the museum team, this piece of the world's memory has been restored to its full glory, in several languages and formats, for everyone to see.
"It is understandable the BBC would take an interest in the work of Albert Kahn, since his work is addressed to everyone, regardless of their own culture or time. The year 1922, when Kahn's influence and work were reaching their peak, saw the birth of this organisation, with its ambition for nation to speak peace unto nation. Albert Kahn would have given his full support to this important mission, given to an institution that was founded, like his own brainchild, on cutting-edge technology of the day. Now the meeting of minds and sharing of know-how has taken place, and the torch of a universal humanism served by the high technology of our own times has been passed to the entire planet."
The Musée Albert-Kahn is based at Kahn's former home at 14 rue du Port in Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburb west of Paris. The museum and gardens are open daily between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. from the beginning of May to the end of September and between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. for the rest of the year. For contact details and information in English about exhibitions and transport links, visit the website at www.albert-kahn.fr