The “Memories Landscapes” series is probably my most personal work to date. The temptation is great, when one comes from the field of architectural photography, to evacuate his own subjectivity from his photographic work. By modesty in front of the work of the architect, to hide his own feelings. However, this can quickly become a creative hindrance. This series is part of a journey to get out of this limitation.
To achieve this, I wanted to embrace the slight uneasiness that invades me in certain places: this melancholy feeling of incompleteness and imperfection – which the Germans call sehnsucht – and which in my case takes the form of nostalgia, of a longing for a faraway land, for my own lost paradise that probably only exists in my memories.
Born in a small archipelago of a few thousand souls in North America, I settled in France at the age of 17, and to be able to adapt to the strangeness of my new environment I have long kept deeply buried the memories of the sensations of my hometown. Today, more than 20 years after my departure, it is my hometown of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon that seems both familiar and strange to me. Perhaps I myself have become a stranger in this “distant land”.
How to reconcile these contradictory emotions? This is what I want to do through this photographic work which uses digital techniques to create landscapes recomposed from elements of my hometown (in particular its typical little colored wooden houses) and of my current daily life (the buildings and other ultramodern structures of our world cities). These imagined landscapes, windows on my own memories, are however created from very real photographs taken over the years in Paris, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Saint-Pierre et Miquelon. They want to be banal at first glance, but yet slightly offbeat, in order to recreate this feeling of sehnsucht, thus inviting the viewer to look at the image to detect the incongruity and identify – perhaps – his own sense of incompleteness.
By digital editing, I start from an existing landscape and I add an intruding element from my memory, like a small colorful house in the heart of the La Défense district or, conversely, like the tower of the “Turning Torso” of Malmö in the middle of nature. Each photo in the series is thus based on a duality or on an opposition, in order to restore a subtle shift, an imperfection, a small “bug in the matrix” of my memorial landscapes.