Clémence Vaufrey and Clément Thièrion are two photographers, graduates from the Gobelins School in 2015, living in Paris. After studying Art and Design, Clémence practices a multidisciplinary photography before turning her work to the photography of “Tiers Paysages”, influenced by the theoreticians and landscape contemporaries. Clément starts photography by working primarily on the concept of landscape, influenced by German objective photography. His practice will then evolve towards a documentary approach by photographing the territories as much as the people who live there. While developing their personal approaches, Clémence and Clément joined forces to carry out a joint project, in which they deploy a photographic language that draws its sources in the documentary form and visual arts.
The forest of Landes (France) is a territory made of contrasts. In the eyes of those who go to the coast in the summer, it appears more like a green desert, uniform and monotonous. We went there several times off season, ranging the long rectilinear roads that crisscross this immense territory. We observed it at man’s height. The forest, which is over one million hectares, prevents any bird’s eye view.
The forest hides, protects and nourishes the activities developed by those who live there. The Landes host a very dense tourist activity on the coast. It hides however, a military zone stretching over 25 kilometers between Mimizan and Biscarosse, as well as an oil production on its lakes.
We made models to symbolize and represent the military base and the oil stations as they are inaccessible areas. The Landes’ residents know the existence of these places without ever having seen what they actually look like. The military base, therefore, is completely abstract, although its contours have a strong impact on the territory, by the presence of a large fence on the coastline inland. The Landes forest is the product of many generations’ work. Number of “Landais” remain attached to the folk traditions or to their ancestors’ lifestyles, perpetuating them at public events or in the privacy of a village. We were particularly interested in groups of Landais waders, who create a link between our contemporary lifestyle and a cultural and territorial heritage.
We have tried to highlight these different aspects that constitute the wealth of this place, and to meet those who live in the heart of the Great Landes, and those who do not feel the need to exhibit their lifestyles to be able know its value.
To view more of Clémence Vaufrey, Clément Thièrion’s work please visit their website.