The yellow mountains (Huang Shan) are located in China, in the Anhui province. They are known for their « verticality » and the frequent seas of clouds. They have been used for many centuries by chinese artists of the Shan Shui school (Shan Shui means mountain and water). The relationship between mountain and water also suggests the principles Yin (water) and Yang (mountain) and, by extension, the relationship between man and his environment.
I had seen an exhibition of Shan Shui paintings in Shanghai and had been impressed by the beauty of these works, which do not aim to show reality but mainly to suggest an impression or an emotion. When I went to the Huang Shan, I had decided from the start that I would make only vertical images, pure black and white and that the idea was to suggest the ‘’chinese ink’’ atmosphere. This took me twice four days, under permanent rain (it rains a lot in the Huang Shan).
The images were printed on thin japanese paper (Awagami) and mounted with two wood sticks. They were exposed for a month in the « Manufacture » gallery in Issy les Moulineaux in 2011.
The last five photographs do not really belong to the set, but it seemed important to show the men who carry 60 to 70 kg on bamboo sticks placed on their shoulders, during 4 or 5 hours, from the valley to the houses and hotels located near the summits. I have tried for a few minutes : it is already hard to handle the sheer weight of the load on one shoulder, but it is also difficult to keep the right balance between the two loads. These men deserve our respect.