THE DYNAMIC OF LANDSCAPES
A SEQUENCE OF IMAGES FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHIC OBSERVATORY OF THE LANDSCAPE IN THE NATURAL REGIONAL PARK OF MONTS D'ARDÈCHE (2005-12)
A photographic landscape observatory consists of setting up, on a given territory, a photographic watch in order to study how landscape changes. A photographer on this type of project must produce an aesthetically pleasing work, which functions both as an art object and a documentary, understandable in other contexts (historical, sociological); the intention being that all occupants of this territory, from environmental management professionals to tourists, from politicians to residents, make their own use of these images.
Over and above the topographical record, our process has been to establish a visual baseline, repeated season after season, year after year. To this end we have chosen angles based on a different ways of criss-crossing the territory: systematically, empirically and stochastically. We have been careful to bear witness to the diversity and richness of the area. This intention was paralleled by a strong desire to think of these territories along the lines of sculptures or art installations created by human hands, or by the environment, or through the passage of time. In this way, little by little, we were able to measure the depth of landscapes as if they consisted of sedimentary layers superimposed on each other.
The multiple timelines encountered throughout our landscapes led us to establish a sort of prospective archaeology of the territory. From sites that seem subject to imminent change, to others that appear somewhat frozen in time, we have tried to enumerate, through our photos both present and future, the different potentialities of a space. To perceive a territory in this way is to set up an extraordinary vision of a landscape as an aesthetic work, as a layering of future intentions both fulfilled and abandoned: an intellectual game involving a truly dynamic vision of the landscape.
Bertrand Stofleth and Geoffroy Mathieu
Exhibition made possible with the help of the photographic landscape observatory and produced for the Parc naturel régional des monts d’Ardèche.