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23 July 2015

Images/Landscapes/Shores, Rencontres d’Arles 2015



The Conservatoire du Littoral, a French public organisation dedicated to the protection of natural areas on coasts and lakeshores, celebrated its 40th anniversary on 10 July 2015, during the Rencontres d’Arles. This was a lucky coincidence: the Conservatoire has had a fruitful relationship with photography for 30 years. In 1984, it participated in the DATAR (Interministerial Delegation for Local Development and Regional Attractiveness) photographic survey. Discovering the original prints by Alain Ceccaroli, Werner Hannapel, Suzanne Laffont, and Vincent Monthiers awak‐ ened the team’s curiosity: the artists raise disturbing and exciting questions about the spirit of the places and the evolution of coastal landscapes. The Conservatoire then decided to call on other photographers. one of the first, Dolorès Marat, yielded an ironic, poetic vision of holidaymakers’ journey to the sea. The organisation was unable to acquire these images at the time. Now, 20 years later, it has, and presents them in counterpoint to those the artist has just made of the Languedoc coast.

The latest acquisitions of the Conservatoire du Littoral also include large prints by Massimo Vitali. for the first time, the beaches are empty! Edith Roux gives us her polyptychs of the Corniche des Maures, from land to sea, photographed in 2014, and Olivier Mériel presents an unprecedented series of twilight images of the D‐Day beaches in normandy. In addition to these four artists, a selection from the thousand or so original prints by 30 french and foreign photographers that the Conservatoire has gradually added to its collection is projected to show its richness and diversity.

The photography collection of the Conservatoire is still growing. The dialogue continues between visionary artists and a passionate public body that, over a 40‐year period, has acquired 160,000 hectares of france’s most beautiful coastal landscapes to preserve them for future generations.

Line Lavesque


Exhibition curator: Line Lavesque.

Exhibition venue: hôtel de Grille.