The Dust of Other Roads

“La tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté Luxe calme et volupté”
-L’invitation au Voyage – Charles Baudelaire

I know very well the constructions involved in travel photography, how the temporary play of light on stone can turn a footpath into a mystery. I understand the lie and yet I still search for that imagined place- the place of happiness, the holy day, the holiday, which often seems further away the closer one gets to it. There’s a line from Chris Marker’s film Sans Soleil where the narrator admits that “I’ve been around the world several times and now only banality still interests me”. Under the current deluge of images perhaps all postcard sites have now become banal- an extension of work, a duty of tourism. Then again perhaps they were always banal in comparison to how they are imagined, betrayed by the power of their own iconography.

Parallel to the desire to travel to imagined places is the impulse to capture beauty and hold onto it, to keep it for darker days, to prove that it existed, and that for a moment the ordinary was illuminated. John Ruskin believed that the only way to truly possess beauty was to understand it, and that the wonder of the world will reveal itself on close inspection. Beauty is becoming more difficult to sift out from the context of mass tourism and perhaps an embrace of the everyday in the midst of the exotic provides some answers.These images are the early stages of a project on these themes, an alternative travel diary, a love letter to the ideal of the south, to the dream of “luxe, calme et volupté” and the spaces in between.

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