Jeffrey Wolin, known for his photographs which incorporate text,
abandons the written word in Provence, France, taking us on a journey
of the Roman ruins scattered throughout France. For more than fifteen
years, Jeffrey Wolin has combined his love of words with his passion
for making photographs, producing narrative images which offer the
viewer a glimpse into the lives depicted. Whether pointing the camera
at himself, his family or strangers, Wolin's stories, written directly
on his photographs, weave narratives in and around his subjects, offering
the viewer a more complete understanding of the person shown.
In his newest body of work, Ancient Provence, Wolin put down
his pen, packed his bags and set out on a four year journey documenting
Roman ruins scattered throughout Southern France. Fascinated by Roman
history since high school, Wolin researched the area, choosing specific
ruins to document, emulating the shooting and printing style of such
notable 19th and early 20th century documentary practitioners as Eugene
Atget, Edouard Baldus and Frederick Evans.
The result of his pursuit takes us into the obscure towns and villages
of Provence, France - towns not found on most tourist maps. In these
places, ruins of past empires collide with modern life, offering a
reality rife with curiosity, humor, beauty and an odd sense of harmony.
In one image we see a roman column stoic among the plastic chairs
and umbrellas of an outdoor café (Hotel l'Aréna); an
aqueduct stands behind a hair salon, the water it once protected now
a concrete street filled with people and cars (Aqueduct with Hair
Salon, South of Lyon); a weathered chateau wall stands in contrast
to a nuclear power plant in the not-so-distant horizon (Ville Féodale
with Nuclear Power Plant, Cruas). By referencing today, Wolin fuses
the past with the present, revealing an area which embraces both modern
technology and its historical roots.
Wolin received an NEA in 1992 and a Guggenheim Fellow in 1991, among
other awards. He has two books published on his work and is part of
numerous collections including Los Angeles County Museum of Art ,
Museum of Modern Art (NYC), and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.