‘’PRISE DE TERRE'' and ‘’DETOURS'' are the titles of my latest series of photographs.
“PRISE DE TERRE” is presented in a selection of triptych sequences creating a repetitive rhythm. As the tripartite images are both modern and traditional; they sacralize and reinterpret my photographs. This means of telling a story in three stages confronts different viewpoints. A game of repetition generates a new symmetry, where light variations and framing interact in harmony. The photograph on the left links to the one on right when, inevitably, one’s gaze is drawn to the photograph in the center. The reworking of an image split into three parts, is a means of providing a narrative that breaks with visual habits and enhances it.
“DETOURS” or meanderings off the beaten tracks. I take photographs to lend value to rural heritage, to incite future generations to preserve and maintain this heritage. Controlled composition, perspective and careful framing is an invitation to become immersed in a photograph, whether it be a play on dropped shadows, streaks of colour, strict, straight, geometric lines, or the effects created by matter. After long awaited rains, organic smells permeate these spaces. And petrichor, the distinct smell that comes off the land after the rains gives me a very special sensation. Delicate faded tones slightly soften the brutality of a deserted agricultural structure. A forgotten tool bears witness to activities past. The insignificant revives the shine of the quintessential; a broken window with abstract shapes against the background of a monotonous washed-out grey sky.
Taking photographs has grown from my search for calm, to liberate myself, and stretch my limits. The opinion of others concerning my work as a farmer, their hasty and sometimes condescending attitude has, at times, knocked me off balance, made me doubt myself and has shaken my confidence. The countryside idealized by city-dwellers who have just arrived, their standpoints on ecology, their cliched idealized impressions of the rural and picturesque landscape are unconnected to my day-to-day life. A working farmer today has to use increasingly innovative and demanding techniques in terms of production and management. This constant race in the name of progress, and the limitless size of gigantic farms must end. Crops are increasingly destroyed by episodes of heat waves, drought and fires. Farmers not only have to face frosts, rain shortages, and hailstones, but also the burdens of red-tape bureaucracy, and regulations of grotesque proportions. Caught in this cross-fire, we farmers have to deal with unbridled globalization. This decades-old system aimed at constantly increasing production to provide cheap food, which now appears to be coming to an end. And yet, we are still overwhelmed by constant media hype blaming farmers, holding us solely responsible for environmental damage. Even if recent events show that farmers are even more indispensable than ever to feed the worlds growing population.
What I express through my photography is what I cannot express in any other way. Today I continue with the artistic approach that began when I started taking photographs with the film camera given to me by my father in the 1990’s. These gained me entry to Photographic Salon de Montrouge in 2012. The series ‘’JE N'AI RENDEZ-VOUS AVEC PERSONNE” and “LIEU” illustrated the direction in which I wanted my work to go, and gave it a fundamental impetus. Thanks to my participation in the Salon, and the input of my farm employees, I now had the time I needed to develop my projects. Time to travel, to explore the world, visits to museums that I began with my parents, my close circle, encounters with other artists, and gallery owners with whom I became friends, an association I work with, all of these elements have contributed to how my work has developed. I have been able to stray far from my farm to far distant places, but I think about the farm every day, it is always indispensable to me. I crisscross my territory, places that are so familiar, that could be seen as dull but that are just the opposite. Facing the dangers of abandoned places that attract me. Wandering without limit, taking my time. Drifting around, waiting, and still waiting, until a certain light that is so familiar returns, all the time knowing it will never come back. And yet believing that a disappointing photograph taken the day before will be a success the next day.
Taking in abandoned spaces, rural architecture reclaimed by nature and revealed in a new form; the emotions aroused by these places that were once so lively and now so silent. Letting the sense of man’s presence be guessed at. I never photograph a face or a person, only the memory of these locations that are so customary here. Setting out to explore this kind of terrain, I discover the unexpected. What might appear ugly and imperfect can paradoxically inform my idea of what is esthetic. Far from touching photos up and facile special effects, it’s only the ravages of time that adds to the spectrum of what is beautiful. Ruins, negligence, decrepitude find grace in my lens. Dilapidation is the only protagonist in this strange production. Avoiding excessive esthetics, steering clear of loud colours and making the imperceptible visible. Extracting spontaneous beauty where you least expect it, making a seemingly trivial detail become singular. Rejoicing when an image is successful, natural without any intervention.
I know these emotions will remain unique.