The majority of Alessandra Sanguinetti’s subjects are inviting to her camera. Looking right into the lens or maybe standing still for a moment that will be extended for a lifetime within the pages of the binding of one of her books, the humans and animals are posed just as perfectly as the scenery Sanguinetti shows. Le Gendarme Sur La Colline is a summons into the life of France, hopping from city to country. Views of people in the midst of their everyday habits to the stills of the surroundings can be seen during Sanguinetti’s recent residency in France. Although the photographs of the French landscape are beautiful by themselves, they show a link to the rest of the world regardless of language barrier and lifestyle.
In Le Gendarme Sur La Colline, Sanguinetti does not separate the photographs into their own categories, mixing the different lives of city and country together. Without cheating and peaking in the back of the book where the captions of the photographs are, it would be hard to pinpoint where some of the images are based. A woman is seen laughing while holding her cigarette, eyes blocked out from identifying her while behind her a local flea market is happening or a parking area is located. Another woman is seen sitting by water, topless with empty bottles by her left side. Sanguinetti leaves plenty of areas that are not able to be identified without the aid of venue provided. Within some of the photographs, however, we see connections between the new age and the old world.
What we learn throughout the images, with the knowledge of the difference in geographic area, Sanguinetti shows reflections between the city and country that connect the lives together. The eyes of the woman with the cigarette are not the only ones blocked out, making it a common theme shared with thirteen other people. There is no clear cut reason why some have their identity revealed and others do not considering that some photographs are more posed than shot as a street portrait. While two people walk on what appears to be the outskirts of a city, a little girl is seen wandering down a path in a field in the country. A mother and her child look up into the sky on the city sidewalk while what appears to be a soldier stands alone in the brush looking up at the same French sky. The lives of these individuals could not start and end more differently, but daily actions captured by Sanguinetti show that they may not be as different as one would think.
Le Gendarme Sur La Colline has a mix of everything included in the velvet binding. It shows a connection between what is imagined to be such different lives led much like how we perceive it to be here in America. The photographs are simple, but sing so loudly and so beautifully to showcase France as a whole. Sanguinetti dream-like views of France in Le Gendarme Sur La Colline is a modern day summons for visitors to travel off the beaten path a little when going through different cities and explore more of the everyday life in both sides of the country.
If you are interested in purchasing Le Gendarme Sur La Colline, you can purchase it on the Aperture website.
Written by Madison Rich
Photographs by Madison Rich