Bhutan doesn’t exist. It is a product of our fantasies, dashed hopes and frustrations ; an unattainable promised land.
As Children, we’d place ourselves in the body of a hero to escape a feeling of weakness. Nowadays, once confidence is lost in our objectives, our work, society and economy, we turn towards the imaginary heaven that is Bhutan : a region of green valleys where money doesn’t matter, where fashion doesn’t dictate the rules, and where the destructive technology of the Occident is held at distance by a spiritual force stronger than any material desire.
Located in the heart of Nairobi, Mathare is the name of one of the largest slums in Africa. Its one million inhabitants live shoulder to shoulder dreading the next rains that sweep through its narrow streets. It was supported by an increasingly famous organisation, MYSA (Mathare Youth and Sports Association) that had worked for 25 years since its founding with the objective : to bring a decent future to thousands of young people and, most notably, through the playing and training of football.
Being part of MYSA allows the young people to find a common identity that moves them away from violence, prostitution, alcoholism and drug addiction. All present in Mathare in 1987 but today, very much reduced. This embedded in the youth is a self-confidence yet care for others that is indispensable to promote sustainable development.
Out of all this came a professional football team Mathare FC that actually won the Kenya Premier League in 2008 and many of ex-MYSA players have risen to stardom through the Kenyan National Team, playing in many top clubs across Europe.
Amongst the countless new city projects that have proliferated in China, Ordos stands out. It is the biggest, the most megalomaniac, and the worst situated one : In the middle of Inner Mongolia's vast steppe, tens of kilometers away from any settlement, in a region almost void of water and trees.
Ordos was set to welcome at least a million inhabitants. Yet, repelled by its harsh climate and exorbitant prices, barely a few thousands ever settled. There is no activity in Ordos, except building Ordos.
The migrant workers, coming from the poor regions of China, account for the biggest share of Ordos’ « inhabitants ». The others are civil servants, transferred here to artificially populate the city. They are handsomely paid, live in western style residential neighbourhood, and their task mainly consists in bearing an incommensurable boredom.
Because Ordos, the city that had everything better and bigger, still awaits the essential: its people.
I am interested in the presence of humans in mountain landscapes. The connecting thread of the series is snow. Since the beginning of the 20th century winter sports have defined the Alpine identity. Ski runs have tamed the landscape: fences, posts, avalanche barriers, lifts, mountain huts. It is no longer possible to ignore the evidence of human intrusion. Deliberately echoing 19th century Romantic art, my images of ski runs try to reveal the originality of a "new contemporary landscape". I focus on its intrinsic aesthetic, even its extreme beauty.
Indonesia, Bali and its region, a destination for more and more people. Bali subsists primarily through tourism, but is slowly dying because of it. Pollution, wasting water, constructions, abandonment of cultural rites and selling of lands ... These islands are facing a real duality: Absorb mass tourism while retaining their identity.
Simple tourist myself, I admit, I wanted to make a series of images reflecting the beauty of places and people, without denying the problems and the existing gaps. Maybe to better live my trip. If indeed it's possible to shirk ones consciousness through the lens of photography.
What should we do ?