Giffre, Nant & Praz.
“Le guegni vâ le dire.”
“The sight worth a speech”.
Proverb from Haute-Savoie, France.
“Giffre” is the river that goes through the valley.
“Nant” comes from the local dialect meaning “stream”.
“Praz” means “field”.
In the French Alps, I went up
the river of the Giffre valley through the years and seasons to arrive at “the
end of the world” : it is literally the name of the place (“le bout du monde”)
where the water has its source. A place surrounded by a mountain circus, at the
border between France and Switzerland. A preserved sanctuary, with a secular
past dealing with the modern era. All along this "nant", on the expanses of the "praz", the wood
and the rock confront the faces and the human presence.
The old mountains guides try to keep a certain way of life, where time seems to be at a slower and wiser rhythm, while a new generation brings a more vivid and eclectic approach.
The Giffre valley gives
nevertheless the sensation to leave sometimes the Alps... One image, one place,
summons another. Nature can be specific but also seems to have anchored in the
collective mind a kind of universal feeling.
we stop. The yamtchik frees his big feet and goes in search of the road, but
without success. I myself went to the side where I thought I would find it; I
took six steps against the wind, and I became certain that everywhere the snow
spread its white uniform layers, and that the road existed only in my
imagination. I turned around : no more sleigh."
Leo Tolstoy, "A
(Here are just some photos extracted from the whole project)