Born in 1981, French photographer Benjamin Deroche studied literature before becoming a photographer – and its mark can perhaps still be seen in his images’ ability to “dereal reality” as critic Françoise Paviot puts it. In his recent series Surnature and Baltica, for example, he creates installations within the landscape, contrasting the natural world with his constructed interventions.
Evoking the land art of Andy Goldsworthy or Nils Udo but resulting in appealing, richly-colour images, this work aims to help viewers question their vision of the world. “There are often very beautiful things in the exteriors of my image but I decide not to return them,” he says, “to leave them out of the field as if there existed a kind of magic to guess them.”
He also recently won the Marguerite Duras Prize with his work from the Hotel des Roches Noires in Trouville-sur-Mer – the hotel at which the French writer spent every summer for over 30 years. Sitting in the lobby of the hotel, he saw the sea rising to the edge of the garden and forming a continuous landscape with it. “This moment appeared to him as dreamlike, and from that moment, the project imposed himself on him,” says H Gallery, Paris, which is staging an exhibition of his work this February.