Immersed photography


“ We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.”
Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Not so long ago, developing a photograph meant immersing it in three successive baths using three different liquids to develop and keep an image: the developer, stop and fixer baths. Under the red light, the strong smell of ammonia permeated the darkroom, time stopped and results were always uncertain.

Digital photography does away with the developer and stop baths. In a time of evaporation, liquids have turned into mist, forming into clouds that now act as a virtual ‘fixer’ by stocking images taken on smartphones the world over. At the heart of the tension between analogue and
digital photography, the significance of the liquid element inspired the programme of the 2016 Festival Images Vevey. Thanks to its proximity with Lake Geneva – one of the biggest lakes in Europe – the Festival designed its installations based on the theme of ‘immersion’. Outdoors and indoors, the Festival sought to come up with an original stage set for each series exhibited, enhancing the artistic proposal with a participatory approach or any other unexpected form. The result is 75 projects by artists hailing from 15 different countries to immerse visitors in the submersible world of contemporary photography.

The ‘immersion’ theme is considered in the broadest sense: literally, i.e. the act of immersing something into a liquid, as well as the immersive dimension of an approach or artistic environment. At times it’s the photographer that takes the plunge, finding inspiration in the water, highlighting the coastline and using liquid as a medium on their pictures. Other times, the series takes us into the abysmal depths of the Internet and the media. This guiding thread immerses us into totalitarian political regimes, life cycles, alien or surrealist cultures, computing clouds or clouds of perfume…

Welcome in the streets of Vevey!

Stefano Stoll, Director