In May 2013 I did an Aire Walk with my good friend and colleague Thomas Juel Clemmensen.
We walked along the banks of the Aire River following the water from its appearance in the foothills of Mont Saléve south of Geneva to its disappearance underneath the city where it meets the Arve River thus also being a tributary to the large Rhône River.
Spending a week in the Aire River valley I managed to complete several series of images. The main one being The Aire Walk Series consisting of selected images taken along the river from its forest-springs in the foothills of the Saléve, over the beautiful renaturalisation project by ADR Architects and Georges Descombes to the culvert and the roaring disappearance of the river underneath Geneva. The result is a visual journey through a landscape shaped by water – and people; Creeks, channels, trees, bridges, drainpipes, fences and flowers.
What I learned during our walk is that the work of ADR Architects and Georges Descombes on the Aire River is a work of erotic beauty drawing upon design principles found in garden art and architecture – the sounds of water running, trickling, cascading, the smell of forests and wet earth…a welcome return of garden art in a project that has regional implications.
While visiting the Aire River I had the great privilege of meeting Georges Descombes again after his visit to Studio Urban Nature in May 2012 at the Aarhus School of Architecture. By chance of luck Descombes’ familyname hails from the valley in the foothills of the mountains Thomas and I set out from on our walk along the Aire – Descombes litterally meaning ‘from the valley’. The Aire Walk Series is thus not only a portrait of the Aire River but also a personal and elongated portrait of Georges Descombes and the river landscape he has immersed himself in since his childhood:
The valley of the Aire River.
The Aire Walk Series, 2013, C-Print, each photograph 50×50 cm, Ed. 1/3 + 2AP. Also available as a limited edition book (Ed. 1/10 + 2AP).