Since Angel, and including Country Limit and The Last Frontier, dedicated to Alaska, Ronan Guillou has been weaving a subtle visual skein that renews with depth and sensitivity the question of margins and in-between places of the American territory. Melancholy, suffused with references to the history of American photography, Ronan Guillou’s images seek bridges between past visions and present roads, that could also lead to the future. His work ceaselessly foils and transcends clichés about this territory, an exotic elsewhere. — Héloïse Conésa
Curator in charge of Contemporary Photography – French National Library
From sociological images to reflexive observations of landscapes, my work crosses documentary gaze, personal narrative and formal study. When it comes to classifying it in a genre, “experiences photography” is what best defines my practice. Such a formula allows me to mix the photography currents I feel an affinity with. Whether it serves the revelation of contemporary issues, the social description or the pleasure of composition, the bond between humans and their surrounding environment leads many of my photographic projects. Some series tend to fit in the wake of New Topographics. From semi-urban to rural areas, they illustrate the fragile dialogue between civilization and nature, which has been a recurring issue of the Anthropocene. The personal odyssey feeds on curious wanderings and timeshare with the characters met on my journey, which compose the score of my own existence.
Availability and intuition guide an approach that I wish to be free and empirical, also fueled by adventurous aspirations for distant horizons. Although it could make the photographic narratives fragmented, I like to disperse myself in the margins of a subject, to deviate from it if I am tempted.
Most of my work has been produced in the USA. Captivated by America’s sociological and political impact on the world and fascinated by the country’s incredible iconography, I have placed this territory at the heart of my research since the early 2000s. Since then, my work has allowed me to forge a precious photographic and human connection with the nation and to engage a passionate dialogue with the American documentary tradition, the backdrop to my own projects.
At the same time as my American work, I continue to work on a project about the city of Paris, inspired by Guy Debord’s ‘Theory of the Dérive’ (‘drift’)
– Ronan Guillou