Richard Pak


  • Oeuvre - Richard Pak
    L'île naufragée - 2023 - Topside (#1371_01). Projet soutenu par le Cnap, la Fondation des Artistes et le Prix Photographie & Sciences 2021
  • Oeuvre - Richard Pak
    L'archipel du troisème sexe - 2022 - Shana ©Richard Pak / Grande commande photojournalisme


“… Richard Pak has a passion for insularity. However, he is not in search of exoticism; what interests him is the observation of a “closed vessel” where humanity reveals its characteristics. A kind of laboratory that pushes human behavior to its limits, both in terms of relationships with each other and with nature. To observe how the distance maintained with Westernized societies says something about ourselves. Yet Richard Pak is not an anthropologist (or only a poetic one), and his style is both realistic and allegorical, as he knows how to turn description into a form of suggestion.

Because what’s at play is subterranean, at the very heart of his representation of the world: oceanic sentiment, late modernity, the power of affect, embodiment through images. The need to see life in order to exist.   (Michel Poivert)


L’île naufragée, 2022-2023

In Nauru, Oceania, everything begins – and ends – with phosphate, which a geologist discovered by chance at the beginning of the last century, intrigued by a stone used to wedge an office door… During decades of euphoria and uncontrolled opulence, of wealth brought by mining, the small fishing community adopts the Western way of life, begins to hyper-consume and spend lavishly. But the day of reckoning came in the mid-90s, when the phosphate ran out, and with the island’s near-exclusive income… the country sank inexorably into poverty.

L’Île Naufragée takes on the trappings of a metaphorical tale to depict one of the great ecological and economic disasters of the 20th century. The series highlights the allegorical dimension of the world’s smallest republic, the Treasure Island, which might have been better off leaving it buried underground…


L’archipel du troisième sexe, 2022

At the start of the 21st century, Western society is showing itself to be more open to the demands and visibility of gender minorities, but this evolution is not new in different cultures around the world. L’Archipel du Troisième Sexe takes a look at the rae-rae, well-known Polynesian figures who have long transgressed the biological frontier between the sexes.

In the West, the matching of social and biological sex may be based on an arbitrariness that the Polynesian area has little patience with. At the beginning of the 20th century, a number of anthropologists gave examples of different gender classifications. The term “third sex” arose from the research of these scientists who were confronted with these “man-women”, such as the mahu of Tahiti.


The photographs were produced in the frame of 'la grande commande nationale' "Radioscopie de la France : regards sur un pays traversé par la crise sanitaire" financed by le Ministère de la culture et organized by la BnF.