Centre Photographique Rouen

A three-year artist residency to create a series of landscape photographs in the region of Normandy, France. The work was exhibited at Centre Photographique (Rouen), Abbaye aux Dames (Caen) and Château de Flamanville (Flamanville). You can view the resulting photographs here.

“Here is Normandy, her holidays and festivals, as seen by an Englishman. The Centre Photographique in Rouen commissioned Roberts to travel the regions of upper and lower Normandy as part of an ongoing project, started several years earlier and involving a selection of photographers, to focus on landscapes such as the ocean cliffs, the Seine valley, and regenerated urban areas. For his project, Roberts’ residency reveals a territory conceived of as a vast human landscape.

A landscape, far from being a frozen reality, is experience and interaction, a negotiated interface between the environment and the person who peoples it with his or her footsteps and emotions. Collectively and individually, we and the landscape weave together a storyline mixing the real and the symbolic, the cultural and the natural, the objective and the subjective. Over two years of work the photographer has followed a trail of local fêtes, parades, memorial ceremonies and leisure activities. While everything around him is movement, flux, mobility, he stands still. Camped on the top of his van or perched on top of a ladder, he captures the fleeting encounter between an environment and those who occupy it for a day. The tone of the encounter is often casual, as in a still showing a group of friends adopting a corner of the Yport cliffs, readying a barbecue grill as if in a corner of their own garden.

In the physical space of his large images Simon Roberts crafts a generous, inquisitive and friendly portrait of Normandy and of those who wander her byways. His images, as they explore rural hamlets, beaches, and sports fields, reveal an unexpected and joyous diversity of customs and manners of “living” her landscapes.”

– Raphaëlle Stopin, Artistic Director, Centre Photographique Rouen Normandie


Behind-the-scenes video and interview (video)

Feature in Internazionale Magazine (pdf)