Memories of an Unknown Island, 2007-2019
“We need the tonic of wildness … At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” Henry David Thoreau, 1854, from ‘Walden: Or, Life in the Woods’
I am drawn to the wilderness and fascinated by the uninhabited places that can be discovered when we travel beyond the city. The pictures grouped together here were taken over the course of many years in a plethora of places, but collectively they form a portrait of a mysterious island on the periphery of time, where nature prevails. Perhaps it is a memory of a place visited in a past life, or a land from a dream. It is a country that exists only in my imagination.
The rough texture of a rock face, the strange light of an eclipse, the sound of a rushing waterfall, the heady smell of an alpine forest, the salty taste of the sea mist … my senses are alive to my surroundings and the abundance of the earth. It is primeval and instinctive, and I strive to capture the experience through photography. These pictures reflect my feelings of wonder on encountering the places where there is no human trace.
Link to Véronique Rolland in conversation with Susanna Brown, Department of Photography, V&A, London