At times we are interrupted by phenomenon. When we move about the world one can miss the extraordinary. Sometimes the most noticeable becomes “invisible”; passed without comment but acknowledged subliminally.
Photographers are defined by their ability to recognize such things. The true artist points their camera and captures the poetry that is the internal dialogue between their eye and mind. A great photographer’s photograph contains the subject/predicate of a personal visual verse; one that can describe ”invisible” phenomenon that they alone recognize, and then choose to document.
In his new book, Interrupted Landscape, Francois Robert examines one such manifestation, the “invisible” phenomenon of roadside billboards. Each page is a portrait, each portrait, a study in isolation and abandonment. The subject of these photographs is not the landscape, but the fading ubiquity of a monumental, man-made delivery system for messages of desire and locality. One by one, each photograph documents an “intruder”, whose message is designed to interrupt. Each photograph of each “intruder” is an arrest, as well as a mug shot.
The portraits are set in the landscape, which is the “ground” that locates odd abstractions of text, color, theme and context. These displays of Man’s self-importance that strategically interrupt our view, are one more pane to endure while traveling the road of life. The world is forcibly cluttered with many “invisible” phenomenon that culture and commerce deem as worthy and justifiable declarations of fact and fiction. The signs are everywhere, you just need to know where to look for them.