Swiss artist and photographer Douglas Mandry (b. 1989, Geneva) is interested in the technological possibilities of photography, particularly in relation to capturing time, evolution and natural phenomena.
In his recent photo series Monuments, for which Mandry won the Foam Talent Award 2020, all these elements come together. The project began with a journey of experimentation to the Swiss Alps, where Mandry collected chunks of ice and pieces of geotextiles, which are used to slow the effects of glacier warming. He used the smaller ice pieces to make photograms with a homemade camera obscura. During the development process, the ice melted and light shone directly onto the photosensitive color paper, creating an almost cosmic abstraction: a condensed and visible representation of the vanishing process. At the same time, Mandry collected photographic archival material from expeditions dating back to the early 20th century and transferred it to the pieces of geotextiles, many of which still contained various traces of use. The fading memories of the Swiss Alps thus became part of today`s technological attempts to preserve a past that no longer exists.
Mandry oscillates between historical analogue and contemporary techniques, creating his own pictorial worlds. This is also visible in the photo series Still Wonder and Unseen Sights. The collaged and overpainted photographs pay homage to a Swiss tradition of landscape painting, while at the same time proposing a tactile and personal experience of a place, and are thus drawn back into the present.