Nomadism by Guillaume Holzer: Exploring Freedom and Identity Through Art

This series is an exploration of nomadism and freedom, it is also the synthesis of 8 years of life in Indonesia with the “sea nomads” when I devoted my time to coral conservation with these communities. It serves as a journey into the relationship between place, mobility and identity, inviting the reader to journey through the perspectives of nomadism through the history of the Bajau and Bugis communities.

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This series is an exploration of nomadism and freedom, it is also the synthesis of 8 years of life in Indonesia with the “sea nomads” when I devoted my time to coral conservation with these communities.

It serves as a journey into the relationship between place, mobility and identity, inviting the reader to journey through the perspectives of nomadism through the history of the Bajau and Bugis communities. I explore the function of deterritorialization and the components of identity and territory.

The term deterritorialization refers to a weakening of ties between culture and place. This means the removal of cultural subjects and objects from a certain location in space and time. It implies that certain cultural aspects tend to transcend specific territorial boundaries in a world that consists of things fundamentally in motion.

Nomadism symbolizes physical and intellectual freedom, the process of liberation from territorial or ideological constraints. It represents resistance to rooting and an openness to fluidity and transformation. After freeing himself, the nomad can settle elsewhere, adopt new norms and create new relationships with his environment. However, this “reterritorialization” is temporary; it allows his movement and permanent change and, in a certain way, condemns him to be free.

I explore the function of deterritorialization and the components of identity and territory in my book “Territoire Nomade” and the realms of nomadism, along with 41 images, texts and sketches

“In the meanders of sparkling waters and infinite horizons I found myself face to face with these rebellious people who defy established norms. Their life is chaos punctuated by resistance, fluidity and flexibility. They are the strangers of this world, moving without ties or fixed identity.” – Guillaume Holzer

Artist Statement

After studying economics in Wales, I traveled for 13 years and worked in different countries with tribal communities such as the First Nations in British Columbia, the Bajau in the Komodo Archipelago, and the Bugis too. In 2010, I founded an NGO, Coral Guardian, dedicated to the conservation of coral reefs. During these years, I became a de facto photographer to document the work of my NGO for reports intended for donors. In 2019, I chose to continue this documentary work, seeking the contemporary expression of the transformation of our world through my images.

When I returned, I joined a photographic laboratory where I learned the basics of film development. The idea of making a book emerged and I then began to work with Eric Guglielmi. Unfortunately, he died shortly after. His absence made me abandon the project for two years. However, my research during this period pushed me towards ancient processes, notably gum dichromate. At the time of my work within my NGO, my main mission was to raise awareness among coastal communities about the ecological disasters caused by dynamite fishing and potassium fishing. Since development with bichromated gum requires potassium dichromate, it seemed obvious to me to use this process! Thus, a link was made between my experience on site and the work that I was going to draw from it, thus allowing me to go beyond more traditional documentary photographic work.

This singular process, particularly through the damage it inflicts on the image, corresponded not only to a certain timelessness of the life scenes that I had been able to accompany in the daily life of the Bajau and Bugis, but also reflected their disrupted and disrupted culture. Tarnished by the forces of modernism, despite a strong identity built in the movement. Finally, the toxicity of their fishing methods appeared, impalpable, in my photographs, like a common thread linking their history and mine.

Subsequently, I decided to make a handmade artist’s book entitled Territoire Nomade. Composed of 41 images, texts from my logbooks kept during these years, and sketches, I published it self-published in July 2023. The 30 copies printed and shaped manually are now almost exhausted. Today there are only 2 copies left, one of which is on sale at the MEP bookseller, the other being the zero edition which I keep.

This series has been awarded several prestigious prizes such as the Hariban Award from Atelier Benrido in Kyoto. He was also a finalist for the Rencontres de Boulogne Billancourt 2023 and the Mentor Prize 2024. “Territoire Nomade” is currently in the running for the Dummy Award 2024 and has joined the collection of the PhotoBook Museum in Cologne. Many exhibitions are coming.

About Guillaume Holzer

Guillaume Holzer is a French artist based in Paris, his work is based on the search for contemporary expression in the transformation of our world, often through the use of historical processes to treat the subject down to its material such as gum bichromate for this series Nomadism. [Official Website]

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Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
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