Fragments of Lakes

PhotographerOlivier Robert
PrizeHonorable Mention
Story

My ‘Fragments of Lakes’ project started in 1995 on the shores of Lake Geneva (Léman), Switzerland. It depicts a personal approach about the esthetically pleasing value of the man-made objects built on the lakeshores and the way they pertain to the landscapes. Over time, the traces left by humans above the water deeply affect the perception of the landscape one can have. Somehow, they are the witnesses of the past or of customs and bring a real added-value to the way we are enjoying the waterscapes from lakeshores. Once they are no longer in use, these elements are rarely taken to pieces but rather left abandoned. Slowly, the man-made structures become the indicators of the passing time until they have totally disappeared. But beyond the reasons why these constructions were built, they affect drastically the subjective eye. They redefine the shape of the shores, they create scale effect and become the landscape in itself. Strangely enough, they steer the spectators not to see them anymore while gazing at the waterscapes. To me, these objects are more constructive elements than disruptive ones. This ‘unwitting aesthetics’ contributes unintentionally to the beauty of the lakes and deeply calls me to mind. Consequently, my work consists in highlighting these constructions. Using long exposures affords me a subjective way to complete this expression. Little by little, this continuous project has been built in many places in Europe and in Japan where the Lake Biwa has become an important place of inspiration for many years among my different projects about the country. In 2015, the Lake Geneva Museum in Switzerland offered me a retrospective exhibition of my 20-year photography of lakes, ‘From Léman to Biwa’ which has also been published in a book on this occasion.