Alain Willaume
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  • The Tale of the East Lake (Wuhan, China, 2018)

    « It all began with an unseasonal, high wind. It had started shortly before I landed, blowing its way, unimpeded, from the high plateaux and through the city corridors under surveillance. With it came a menacing cloud front, confirmation that ghostly spirits had agreed to help me with my search (*).
    My correspondent 1149281925 had given me a clear assignment: “We hope that the realistic photography can be combined with some innovative ideas, as the innovative expression is what we want most“. So I was at liberty to take him at his word and to express myself freely on East Lake… encouraged by the wind’s breath which alone enables me to achieve dreams.
    My brief was also to accompany the photojournalists commissioned to work on the lake by the Yangtze River Daily.
    Helped by the troubled weather, I decided to do all I could to convey the aesthetic of imperfection dear to the Shinto concept of wabi-sabi and to try to show by default, inter alia, the enslavement of nature by human beings, in this instance the young Chinese leisure society. Encouraging my new comrades to explore the cracks in the “playground”, to reveal the fissures through which the light of free will filters, and to make the floorboards creak, warning the unwary that the monster is still on the prowl … Surely that too is innovative expression? »

    (*) I have always hated blue skies.

    Alain Willaume

    NB. This series of photographs was created in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, in June 2018, during a photographic assignment to promote East Lake. It was commissioned by the Yangtze River Daily on behalf of the municipal association for the East Lake Nature Reserve.