Yogan Muller

La Forêt Domaniale du Flamand (2013-present), Montalivet-les-bains

La Forêt Domaniale du Flamand is a protected forest managed by Office National des Forêts (ONF) in the southwest of France. It is one of my "native" landscape, a region I visit every summer since I am 4 years old growing up as a naturist there.

In 2014, it dawned on me that there was absolutely nothing "natural" about the naturist landscape. I find out that Flemish people came and helped modernizing the region in the seventeenth century. Their efforts transformed the area into a polder.

Suddenly I saw the forest related to the history of European landscape, since it is most probably in Flanders that the first word for "landscape" appeared in 1462.

Today the French National Forestry Office wishes to maintain the forest in "a high degree of wilderness" (dans un haut degré de naturalité élevé), a curious hybrid where human and natural agencies are clearly enmeshed.

I set out to photograph that hybridity as close as I could, also bearing in mind the lineage the forest has with landscape history.

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