The Rhône is the very reason for the choice of the location of the city of Arles. It is the witness and the primary inspiration of Roman culture in the south of the France…
In the oldest shamanic traditions, he was considered a deity in his own right. In Greco-Roman mythology, among the Sea Gods, there is one who fascinates men to the highest point, it is Proteus, son of Poseidon.
If Chronos represents time, Eros love, Hades the world of the dead, Proteus is the god of the future and metamorphosis. Proteus had the gift of prophecy and crystallized the questions proper to the passage of man on Earth: Who am I? Where do I come from? And Where am I going?
He therefore embodied a true fantasy of humanity, and attracted the attention of mortals. Many wanted to capture him and make him talk!
Tired of carrying this load and understanding that he would not escape the insatiable quest of men, Proteus then developed a second gift, it of metamorphosis…
As soon as someone approached him to capture him, he instantly transformed. It could be in an element of the landscape, in salt, in tree, in sand or in many characters …
The word Proteus gave “protean”, that is, the ability to take any form.
Philosophically, the message of this myth is that the future is already in the present. Of course, the future seems to escape us, but in reality, it depends on how we look at the present, how much attention we pay to the resources we have, and our capacity for creation, imagination and attraction.
Laurent Barrera considers each of his images as photographic haikus, dense and chiseled creations that, by their form, invite poetry. Together they form a corpus of poetic traces of the environnement.
The series “Rhône” was made around the estuary of the Rhône and Arles where we can have many traces of the greco-roman mythology.
This series is strongly influenced by the Japanese Mono No Aware aesthetic in the spirit of the “Tale of Genji” of the Heian period (X th century in Japan) and that of the poetic literary current of the Haikus of the Edo period).
It is also part of the current neo-Japanese photographic movement (Albarran Cabrera, Paul Cupido, etc…).
Like Alec Soth a few years ago with his “Sleeping by the Mississippi”, Laurent Barrera wanted to make a poetic documentary work around one of the most iconic rivers and rich in heritage of France : the Rhône.
Laurent Barrera was born in 1966 in Marseille and spent his childhood between the South Pacific and Provence.
He began a career as a geological engineer on the indian ocean before becoming a winemaker in organic farming in Provence. His travels to export his wines brought him many times to Japan where he discovered an aesthetic and a relationship to Beauty that would strongly influence his artistic activity.
Laurent Barrera wins in 2019 the grand prize of the Arles photo contest chaired by Sam Stourdzé for the 50th anniversary of the festival and the 100th anniversary of Olympus.
He settled as an artist photographer in 2021 and began exhibiting in several festivals (Photomenton, Rencontres du Prieuré de Salaize and Photo nature in Le Havre, Nuit de la photographie de Pierrevert, Besançon, Présence Photographie à Montélimar etc… ).
He is also the Author of the photobook « Koï » who won the first prize in the 2022 international festival of Namur (Belgium) category photobook.
Website : www.laurentbarrera.com
Instagram : www.instagram.com/laurent_barrera