In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America. Less than 500 years later, it has become a common touristic destination for wealthy people from every part of the world. What remains of the Wild West has now been transformed into National Park where people can quietly enjoy breathtaking landscapes.
Unknown worlds are now located far from Earth and our most famous explorer is a robot. "Curiosity" is the Christopher Columbus of our century, crawling the surface of Mars, searching for clues and information about its past. As with the Wild West, we could imagine a point where Mars would become a touristic destination for people to visit and experience. NASA and SpaceX are already working on it and if no catastophic event happen, in less than 50 years, humans will walk on Mars.
I have always wondered what it would be like to discover a totally different world, lifeless, full of wild landscapes and to photograph it for the first time as if I was Ansel Adams. So I came up with this project, which is about space exploration and discovery. But it's also about our behavior in front of landscapes and how we create pictures that will share our personal story with the world. In every spots I stopped, carefully chosen for their similarities with the red planet, I imitated stereotypical tourist poses. It's interesting to observe the way we act in front of the camera, how we include ourselves in the landscapes, how those landscapes trigger the desire to affirm our presence. And how the way we take pictures exposes the vanity involved in our endless pursuit of self-definition.
Some years ago, taking pictures of landscapes was enough. And we were not able to share them before we came back home. Today we have added ourselves on the pictures. Our faces are everywhere. We share everything instantly; we feel the need to do it. The connection is permanent and the experience becomes different. With Internet available everywhere, there is no "being-far-away" anymore. So we might ask ourselves, do we travel to discover new places, change of scene, new cultures, or do we travel to look for pictures of ourselves and to prove that we exist ?
A special thanks to the whole SONY team for their trust and support with this project.
txt: julien mauve