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This publication results from a ten-year long engagement with the nature and landscapes around the small village of Veysonnaz, located in the Wallis region of the Swiss Alps. Photographer Philippe Fragnière walked the same paths as his ancestors in an attempt to sense what they had felt. From legends and hearsay, he borrowed motifs and a narrative device: ‘objects’ are singled-out, at times moved into a studio, and made into provisional totems. Vernacular architectures and amphibians appear alongside land, flora, and fungi, formally elevated into symbols. Alongside one another, they capture the photographer’s phenomenological experience of a terrain to which he returned as he moved through grief. Comfort was found in the cycle of seasons, and in time so infinitely slow it appears still. Like glass, neither solid nor liquid, the images as a sequence exist in suspension, caught between fact and fiction. Scale has no bearing – all is magnified and made equivalent. Does something exist, the photographer asks, factually or fictively, if no one records it? “If you listen closely, the glass in the windows melts away and flows into streams, faraway. We inhabit fountains.” A commissioned short-story by Swiss author Valmir Rexhepi accompanies the images. Dialogues form short poems when read separately from a text that flows from top to bottom over both pages. The story’s characters are described topographically; selves are produced through the encounter with an environment that is overly familiar yet elusive. Together, the images and text point to the desire to make land speak.
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