I had been photographing landscapes for several years when I suddenly noticed their emptiness. The emptiness in landscape photography is, of course, a given; it is what defines the genre. To most, landscape photography probably evokes vistas of the natural world. Their emptiness is the lack of our interference, a sort of fullness, something we couldn’t have in our living rooms without buying a big print of one such photograph, something we long for.
My photography was about the built environment. The emptiness was our absence in that environment. It was, of course, manufactured: I would sometimes wait until the occasional person on the street would walk out of the frame. I wanted to ask what we choose to present to others—our front yards and facades—or the things we leave behind–litter, boarded up houses, crumbling facades—tell about us, but ultimately it started to feel like trying to read an indecipherable text, while the authors were right there and could have been able to answer some of those questions if asked.
So, I turned to them. I came up with a project that would balance my interests: portraits of people in their environments of comfort where they feel at ease and like themselves. I figured that this would allow me to see the landscapes anew, through someone else’s eyes, while still allowing the viewpoint to be mine, looking at them in their landscape. Instead of redeeming the landscape by attempting a sort of revenge on it, as I had often done, trying to place order into something disordered by framing it, I would let someone show me their landscape of redemption, thus redeeming it and giving it meaning.
Here, I present a selection of the resulting photographs. I am also in the process of writing fuller (though fictionalized) accounts of each photo session, which I publish in my newsletter. It may be read here.
You can follow Henri and his photography here: Instagram: antihenri