"The department of Alpes-Maritimes (06) wanted to pay tribute to the workers who are rebuilding the La Roya valley following the damages caused by the storm Alex in 2020. One of the largest reconstruction projects that France has ever seen following a natural disaster, the refurbishment of an entire valley is no small feat!
As part of this artistic commission, the department gave me carte blanche on the interpretation of this desire to present these behind-the-scenes workers: equipment operators, rope access technicians, crane operators, road safety agents, project managers, ... workers rarely brought to the forefront but who are essential to our daily lives.
I have always questioned in my work the notion of geographical space and its evolution. Indeed, I believe that the mapping of a territory begins with those who constitute it. Visually, I deal with this duality between my love for artificial light that quickly confines us to the depths of a studio and my attachment to the field that offers proximity to others.
To resolve this difficult choice, I developed, in the years 2019-2020 with the series 'Workers of the Temple of Karnak', this shifted visual practice of on-site studio photography of the workers of the Temple of Karnak in work attire during their working day.
The result of these images was revealing to me.
This new series of images of the workers on the La Roya construction site had to be visually epic. I came up with the idea of proposing diptychs as a mirror of the person. Indeed, a portrait against a 'studio' background suddenly confronted with a real-life situation offers, in my eyes, a striking contrast.
The photographs arranged along a Roya redesigned in violence by the storm stand out in contrast on the slopes of the valley and respond to each other, as if resonating with these women and men who are rebuilding the valley of tomorrow."
Florent Perris
Nicolas Gasiglia