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"Ruled by the wind"
In October 2006, after a long break, I decided to take up again hiking outside urban places. A week in the mountains, from one climber’s hut to another, on a journey without ambition, however a splendid one, made me renew this kind of connection with the world.
But for me in winter, the mountain closes and withdraws itself until the end of spring. Then I remembered that the Calanques from Marseille up to Cassis still offer me what I was searching for: remoteness, and continuous contact with light, wind, cold or warm weather, the land and the sky.
Mainly, I wanted first to forget for a while the complexities of social relations, the hopeless repetition of the increasing of human inequalities, the stressful representations of the world we live in, and the sensation of physical atrophy that the «comfort» of urban life ends by creating.
It was enough for me to try to live again in the evidence of the most simple and elementary sensations. I made the choice to spend nights under the stars. I wanted to climb up and down the scree slopes, and to walk not to go from one point to another, but to feel myself and my body immerse into the elements around. I wanted to steep into the light and the wind as well as into the sea, to sleep listening to the night and peering into the sky.
I didn’t want to recover but rather to vanish from myself, even if it is on marked foot paths; not to meditate, nor to introspect, nor to see or to understand, but rather to silence the interior agitation and feel only my shoulders, my feet, physical tiredness and the sky and the rain.
The weight of the bag relieves the head.
That is my great adventure!
Since then, I came to love the Calanques. Seated at my desk I am dreaming about it’s splendid harshness, it’s lights, it’s wind... Then I returned there. New photos added up to those from the «first time». And when carrying on, I wanted these images to become more closely related with what I lived there and the way the landscape get into my mind and how I manage to pass through it.
It is said that walking could incite to contemplation. It is true that it happens that my mind goes blank under the effort. But mostly it is like a long gossip with myself, with sometimes landscapes breaking in the middle of it.
The steps chant the rhythm of thoughts, as they build an attentive eyesight on the road. So the pictures become rhythmic, scansions, transitions rather than pauses. Sometimes during a stop the eyes change the dynamics of seeing and the relation to the landscape become more contemplative.
The form that these photos take is an attempt in translating my own physical and carnal relation to these places that since then hold a part of me.
Frédéric Bellay, 2007-2017
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