The history of wine and wine is so ancient that it merges with the history of humanity.
For a long time the transformation of grapes into wine appeared as a supernatural manifestation, due to divine beings who violently agitated the vessels where tumultuous fermentations took place. In turn food, medicine, sacred object, precious food, source of wealth or torment, wine has emerged during these five millennia of cultures as a fundamental element in the history of societies and as a link between men .
The ongoing project “Cosmogony of Wine” is born from the desire to reveal the magic of the process put in place by man for more than 5000 years to make wine. The story of this “elixir” relates our deep attachment to the earth, to nature, to the processes of transformation inherent in the universe. I wanted to make this collective memory resonate to reveal its initiatory side, its sacred dimension.
My eyes, plunging into the heart of the vats of wine making, wanted to “touch the organic”, to show how Man, who is at the center of the transformation of grapes into wine, reveals its cosmic dimension.These vats of wine look like planets where fire and water clash in a tumultuous fight, image of a living earth that creaks and “bloats” before becoming an uncertain space.
«Cosmogony of Wine” project starts on 2012. My personal questions and long discussions with my wife about the meaning of life, and more specifically on the philosophical and spiritual principle of transformation, have brought me to a field that has fascinated me for a long time: The viniculture. After giving a few phone calls, I went looking for locations during the harvest of 2012 where I met two wine growers in Provence-France. I had no idea about what I was going to find.When I discovered the wine producing, I shot some photographs of which I was not very satisfied. Something appealed to me but the result was too much repetitive, not conceptual enough. I thought it was not such a good idea, I thought I could not realize what I had imagined for a moment…
I then searched for about three years long how I could do. I could not give up this project, even though I could not find any solution, it was always in a corner of my head. The main problem for me was the light and the depth of the tanks. How could I show alchemy that we never see since it takes place in total darkness, inside the tanks?
This question obsessed me for several years. In the same period, I developed some techniques such as “Light Painting” that opened me to additional possible solutions, as well as the release of a powerful self-contained flash model, created by a famous Swedish brand.Finally, in 2016, I met Christine Cheylan, the owner of Château Virant, a domain well known in the “Coteaux d’Aix” appellation, in Provence to whom I spoke about my project. She loved the idea and gave me carte blanche.
I used different techniques, and a number of “customizations” for lighting.I worked during the harvest period in order to take advantage of the widest possible range of winemaking operations. Most of the time, the photos were taken between 3 am and 10 am, because of the outside temperature which was between 28 ° and 32 ° at the end of August. There was, most of the time, only the winemaker and myself. I was alone often working at night, around or above the vats. I had the feeling of living in the margins of time, in a space with uncertain limits, between dream and reality, photographing Cosmos. The strong smell of alcohol and grapes, the sound of electric motors cooling the wine, or mixing the grapes, created a strange atmosphere…
Today my wish is to continue this work in other wine growing regions: Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, but also outside France. [Official Website]