Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
Raymond Depardon photographs the gorgeous French countryside in all of its contradictions: shimmering and bleak, lively and secluded
During the 1990s and 2000s, French photographer Raymond Depardon (born 1942) crisscrossed rural France with his 6x9 view camera. In the photographer's words: "To photograph and film farmers means entering their private lives and creating relationships of trust over many years." From this exploration of the agricultural world, he made black-and-white photographs that tell the story of the land, the people, manual labor, the isolation and fragility of small farms, but also the beauty of the French countryside. Sunlit scenes of sheep on secluded hillsides and spacious old small towns are juxtaposed with the same scenes in wintertime where those same towns and hillsides offer up new contrasts such as between untouched snow and the dark earth agitated by farmers and their livestock just feet away.