Selection of December 2023: untitled by Fred Bucheton

by Fred Bucheton

This photo was taken in 2019 while I was participating in a two-months course at the national photography school in Arles, to learn how to develop and express my vision in an author’s photographic project. I was exploring the areas during my free time during the weekend and decided to hike in the Sainte-Baume massif on this autumnal day. The notoriety of the site is due to the presence of a developed beech forest, preserved for centuries, as well as the Sainte-Baume cave, a major place of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages. It is said that Mary Magdalene found refuge here; this cave, more commonly called Sainte-Baume, gave its name to the massif.

I am interested in the ecosystem of the mountainous regions that I travel through. I was at first interested in the captivating monumentality of the mountains, but then, focused on less spectacular, more sensitive elements. It was through contact with the trees that populate this area that this desire to produce more intimate photography was born.

My first intent was to transcribe the subtle palette of tones covered by the trees during this season. The light fog of this humid day reduced the contrast of the image, thus contributing to a certain softness in the rendering. Although the colors of the trees were pleasant, I wanted to highlight the diversity of shapes of this forest seen from above by opting for a black and white treatment. I then inverted the image like a negative, to further increase the level of abstraction. I raised the exposure and reduced the contrast to obtain this ‘drawing’ look. Finally, I applied dodge and burn techniques in Photoshop in certain parts to improve the readability of the image. 

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