Antonin Borgeaud

A showcase for the islands

© Antonin Borgeaud

The best arrow in a photographer’s quiver is their versatility. The talented Antonin Borgeaud is just as at ease before a Hollywood star like Forest Whitaker as he is on the streets of Shanghai or at a fashion show. His ability to photograph everything with the same subtlety and elegance is what inspired the Morbihan Departmental Council to entrust its latest commission to the French photographer.

This year’s photography project focuses on the Gulf of Morbihan, one of France’s true natural wonders with 17,000 hectares of maritime space strewn with islands and islets, a mosaic of landscapes and environments of major ecological interest.

The Gulf’s islands are more than just emeralds on the ocean; they are sanctuaries of biodiversity and models of sustainability in heritage conservation, in the protection of sensitive natural areas, in economic management and in responsible agriculture. In this world caught between land and sea, where Antonin Borgeaud spent several weeks last winter, the commission uses artistic and documentary images to illustrate the relationship that people have with their fragile surroundings. The latter are under threat from the tourist industry drawn to an attractive coastline but are also a testing ground for innovative practices aimed at developing an ecological economy. And for the very first time for this long-standing feature of La Gacilly, the photographs exhibited will be in black and white. Why choose shades of grey to express the many bright colours of the Gulf? This is to express something other than what we already know, to refocus on the timeless side of this natural heritage. “Colour is a bit boring,” explains Antonin Borgeaud. “Black and white, on the other hand, has allowed me to do a lot of things, such as being able to better unify all the photos taken in this area – a region that I first took the time to understand.” Borgeaud, a man from the Mediterranean, said he was “distraught” by this “changing sea.” The photographer also takes the time to understand the weather and lighting of the Gulf and the people who live there. “I integrated these people into the pictures in a discreet and subtle way,” he concludes. “The aim was to try and create images that linger and last.” 

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