“The Blossom Project is the result of photographers Isabelle Chapuis and Alexis Pichot creative collaboration.
The pair captures enigmatical landscapes in every corner of the globe, from Morocco to the US and Turkey to Norway, in which they set up colorful clouds to create these ephemeral and vivid sceneries.
The Blossom Project is a celebration of the earth and its creative potential; its fertile landscapes and irreplaceable blossomings while the clouds of looming smoke represent a visual manifestation of the creative impulse.
It also raises awareness on the interventions of mankind in territory. If men are absents from these photographs, their imprint is suggested among these wild natural or abandoned landscapes; construction sites, minings, power plants, quarries, agricultural holdings, etc.
Isabelle & Alexis direct intervention in the landscape and ephemeral characteristic can safely be compared to Land art’s approach and Robert Smithson’s conceptual oeuvre in particular. Whereas their choice of abandoning all suggestions of figuration to focus their attention on the expressive power of colour recalls Abstract expressionism and the likes of Rothko and Newman.”
– Claire Alliot-Soto / Paris Palma art advisory
How did you meet?
We met in Paris during an opening at Galerie Taïss, where Isabelle exhibited her personal work.
When did you first pick up a camera?
Isabelle was 18 and Alexis was 14. But those ages are not the trigger of something special, the creativity was finding its own way through other forms of expression, like drawing, painting, dancing, chanting, as it is still.
How did the idea for this series come about?
We’d known each other for two months when we entered a photographic competition with the theme ‘Paris, I Love You’. We represented this theme through pink clouds in the streets of the city. It was a cold, early morning in winter time and we discovered something beautiful! We were awarded second in the competition and from that day ‘Blossom’ was born.
How unpredictable can smoke be to work with?
Working with smoke is working with the wind and it is so unpredictable. Before each shoot we tend to study the wind direction but often the result is not what we expected, we often end up having to adapt ourselves according to how it goes; we love that things are not under our full control, it is also what gives off a magic feeling. Working with smoke can be challenging, but that’s not a bad thing. It spurs you on to find solutions and pushes your creativity. It is part of the process and helps to maintain a fresh perspective.
Which photo has the best story attached to it?
Probably a photo we took in Norway, which the two of us call ‘Morning Lake’. We were doing the shoot in the context of a collaboration with the Norwegian fashion brand Holzweiler. We went to Oslo for the launch of the new collection, designed with our photos, and then travelled across Norway shooting nature spots. One morning we arrived at the bottom of an amazing iceberg, after three days trying to reach it. We were finally almost there, but the road was so frozen that we couldn’t reach the top – we had to park and stop in the middle of nowhere. Hidden behind rocks we finally found a beautiful lake, with a soft and dreamy morning light. The feeling was really intimate; we spent the day without seeing one human face in this wild and peaceful nature. Life always brings you great surprises beyond what you try to plan. Where in the world would you most like to shoot? So many places. Just to name a few: Iceland, New Zealand, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, Japan…
What is it about empty spaces that intrigue you?
When we are in the middle of an empty space, we have the feeling that time is suspended. This lack of landmarks is a fertile space for creativity, letting the mind run free, giving a sense of pure evasion. Empty spaces carry this particular invitation to free movement.
What is the significance behind your use of colour?
We do love to play with colours, so there is an aesthetic aspect but also the choice is related to the story we want to tell. If we use a colour that will be monochromatic with the place, or on the opposite creating a strong contrast, the story will be different. When we are in abandoned places we usually try not to use colours that will make the place more dramatic, we prefer to create a visual contrast using for example a soft colour to make the picture into something poetic.
What do you hope your images stir in people?
Everyone is free to interpret our images differently. It comes from this dreamy feeling that we carry with us from our childhood – looking at the sky, at the clouds and imagining things. It’s exactly those imaginary forms that we want people to look at in the smoke and find their own meanings, their own emotions. We also tend to raise awareness on the interventions of mankind in territory. If men are absent from these photographs, their imprint is suggested among these wild natural or abandoned landscapes, like construction sites, mines, power plants, quarries, and agricultural holdings.
What are you working on at the moment?
In Paris, the first museum of perfume will open in December and we are creating all their visuals of communication. Isabelle is also going to China for six exhibitions of her personal work, running from September to November, while Alexis is working on a new personal series about forests at night and light interaction.
To view more of their work visit isabelleandalexis.com.