Edition 2024



1 July - 29 September 2024

07.00 AM - 08.30 PM



Facing the glaciers of the Meije and perched at an altitude of 2100 m, the Lautaret garden is the highest in Europe. It constitutes a unique conservatory of the diverse alpine flora, classified by continent, as observed on all the high mountains of the World: the Alps, the Rockies, the Caucasus, the Himalayas, the Andes; in Japan, the Arctic, Patagonia and Africa. I stayed there in the company of researchers, scientists, botanists and gardeners. In the evenings, we would sometimes recount the epic story of Hannibal, who supposedly crossed the pass on his way through the Alps. Ancient visions of this journey would mingle with my large format photographs of the garden, a kind of phantasmagorical, lunar vision of our future. Hannibal was railing against the dominance of Rome. It occurred to me that this “laboratory-garden" mirrored Hannibal's struggle: a bastion of resistance in our contemporary world faced with climate change.

Since the 19th century, students and scientists have come to analyze the remarkable biodiversity of the Col du Lautaret, devoting themselves to maintaining the collections and understanding the plants that survive in this hostile environment. A tradition of seed exchange between botanists from all over the world has existed for two hundred years, enriching the garden and those of other lands, in the quest to preserve the living memory of our species and evolution.

At Col du Lautaret, in-depth research is carried out into the ecosystem that surrounds us, to understand how it will behave amid global change. To this end, a unique experiment called "flying alpine pasture" is being conducted. Eight tons of alpine pasture are transplanted by helicopter downstream, to study the three- degrees difference and its climatic impact on plants; the experiment is scheduled to be completed in 2025. Researchers will then be able to imagine the new landscape of the Alps—and, by extension, that of the rest of the living world.

Marine Lanier

These photographs were produced as part of the major national commission, Radioscopie de la France: regards sur un pays traversé par la crise sanitaire [Radioscopy of France: a look at a country affected by a health crisis], funded by the Ministry of Culture, and directed by the BnF.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture