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France in FluxSpace, Territory and Contemporary Culture$
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Ari J. Blatt and Edward Welch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941787

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941787.001.0001

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Picturing a Nation of Local Places in the Observatoire photographique du paysage and France(s) territoire liquide

Picturing a Nation of Local Places in the Observatoire photographique du paysage and France(s) territoire liquide

Chapter:
(p.186) Chapter Eight Picturing a Nation of Local Places in the Observatoire photographique du paysage and France(s) territoire liquide
Source:
France in Flux
Author(s):

Ari J. Blatt

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781786941787.003.0011

The history of French photography has been marked by the preponderance of photographic ‘missions’, whereby a collective of artists charged with documenting the nation’s shared common spaces traverse the territory with cameras in tow. From the Mission héliographique (1851) to the Mission photographique de la DATAR (1983-89), these projects have much to tell us about the place that landscape occupies in the national imaginary. This chapter surveys two of the most recent and most compelling photographic missions that set out to render the contours of the nation intelligible. While the Observatoire photographique du paysage, inaugurated in 1991, mobilizes a rigorously implemented procedure of rephotography to sensitize the public to the evolution of the French landscape, the group of photographers united since 2011 under the moniker France(s) territoire liquide has produced a decidedly more personal and subjective view of a territory in flux. Though they differ greatly in the way they envision space, this chapter suggests that both groups privilege the lesser seen, the interstitial, and the vernacular to provide a nuanced vision of France that challenges the most dominant conceptions and clichés—in the rhetorical and graphic sense of the word—of the nation as a whole.

Keywords:   Vernacular Landscapes, Photography, Natural and Built Environments, Observatoire photographique du paysage, France(s) territoire liquide

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