Inland Voyage

21 May 02 October 2022

A new exhibition by Institut pour la photographie in partnership with Light Motiv as part of lille3000 UTOPIA

« Out of my country and myself I go. »
Robert Louis Stevenson

The photographer Quentin Pruvost follows in the footsteps of the famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) on his 1876 journey down the rivers of the North in a canoe fitted with a sail with his friend Walter Simpson. If, for the writer, it was an adventure into unknown lands which inspired him to write one of his first books, An Inland Voyage (1878), for the photographer this project is an opportunity to look back at memories of his childhood on the River Sambre.

The series of photographs reveals the importance of the river’s ecosystem and offers the same descriptive qualities as Stevenson’s account : a privileged environment for the fauna and flora and also for humans. The views of the banks bear witness to the development of the use of its resources over the years : houses, cultivation and fishing activities, a navigable waterway equipped with locks, and where industries have gradually been installed.

His views of the fauna and flora are particularly evocative of the introspective nature of their shared experience. Quentin Pruvost succeeds in turning this everyday ordinary nature into an exotic, even fantastical forest. The dense vegetation is highlighted, as it invests the whole frame of the picture, with light effects which lend the scene an air of mystery. The author and the photographer appear to share the same idea of travel, a context which escapes time, that favours contemplation and imagination.