Growing up in France, my previous wilderness experiences were limited to the icy peaks of the Alps. After arriving in America, I was immediately drawn to the extraordinary natural diversity offered by the US National Parks. I felt privileged to be able to experience such accessible yet untouched areas, filled with beauty and chaotic order. I felt the spiritual need to share the sense of wonder and passion inspired by those lands, as I did when I picked up the camera earlier to share the experience of mountaineering with others.
The viewers must recognize that those unique areas are truly treasures to be preserved and protected for future generations. Although they would observe these natural wonders through my own celebratory perspective, they should realize that there is, for the most part, nothing they could not experience for themselves if they keep on looking. On a more abstract level, I was interested in the individual character of each place, how each one represents a set of unique ecosystems, yet collectively, all are interrelated, interconnected like a giant jigsaw puzzle. To perform that comparative studies, I spent the past fifteen years photographing each of the 58 National Parks with typological depth, returning at different seasons, traveling far into the backcountry.
I found the perfect tool in the 5×7 large format camera. Its unparalleled descriptive power and the deliberate mind it requires helped me communicate how the land reveals itself to a viewer in a state of heightened awareness. The visually complex, widely encompassing yet detail-laden images invite us to have a closer look, allow us to stand before the landscape, as if we were there ourselves, entering through different doors, exploring different rooms of a dear home that really matters to us all.