What is our Human relationship with the Earth and with the landscape?
The visually stunning and varied work of Jean-Paul Bourdier leads us to wonder about this question. His images of body-painted models in stark landscapes are striking and generate many different emotions. First of all there is no doubt that the images are creative and beautiful. Some, like the one above, have a power that causes a degree of discomfort. We are not sure whether, as humans, we dominate the earth or are insignificantly small.
Do we blend as an integral part of the earth or do we stand out like something that does not fit into the harmony of the landscape? The images above and below suggest a little bit of both.
Other artists previously reviewed in this blog raise similar issues about our place in the world. The amazing images of Arno Rafael Minkkinnen leave us with the impression that Man is an intruder upon the earth. Some of Boudrier’s images, like the one below, leave us with much the same feeling. Somehow we don’t seem to belong here and our imprints are everywhere.
The work of Dean Fidelman, on the other hand, suggests a much more harmonious relationship with the earth – even if we are dwarfed by the majesty of some natural spaces. Some of Boudrier’s work (below) also suggests that we may fit better within our own world.
Most of Bourdier’s work is dramatic rather than uplifiting. The images capture us with their strong visual impact. mainly they make us uncomfortable and, if we’re that way inclined, they cause us to reflect. One can look at these images for long periods and go through many emotional swings. The occasional image (below) even suggests a cheerful and enjoyable relationship with the world around us. This mood is, however, unusual in this portfolio of images.
I would strongly encourage you to take time to go through all the images in this extensive body of work. Overall, I am left with the feeling that we have choices. We can elect how we interact with the earth – as intruders, as owners, as a harmonious part of what surrounds us and in many other ways. Our footprint can be heavy or light. We can enjoy or use and destroy. As humans we have evolved to such an extent that all these options are open to us. Which will we choose going forward I wonder? Our actions are merely a reflection of who we are.