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000 — 000

First and foremost, there is the light. The light we recognise,
the light we don’t. The light that saturates the outline of the fort
with an almost Mediterranean blue, intense and almost
incongruous, contrasting with the gleaming ochre of the sand.
The light that transforms the “môle des Noires” seawall into a joyful
serpent sinking down into the sea, and the clouds into carefree
wanderers pausing for a while in the turquoise sky. And the other
light, slower in pace and more familiar. The light that drapes
thick, heavy shadows over the rows of breakwaters, its colour
palette inspired by the grey and emerald hues that blanket the
town, harbour and sea every day; the light of the sunshine
streaming straight down onto the facades and sparkling in puddles;
the light that rebounds off faded cobblestones made pale by
sea spray and salt.
And then, moving from one photograph to the next, the eye
remembers this light – this spectacular, theatrical, panoramic light,
which countless times in a single day transforms Sillon Beach
into its own giant projection screen. The brooding, bulky
mass of the thunderstorm, a dense layer of wrathful clouds lying
heavily over the ebbing liquid mirror and causing it to erupt in
dazzling silver; the pale, grey, almost Baltic light of a foggy early
morning, bordering the crests of the waves; the heavy, stretched-out
evening light that descends upon the waters and inhabits
them, engulfing them and feeding on them in an eternal dialogue
that resembles nothing so much as an eternal miracle.
They have a tale to tell, these photographs. A tale of a love for
a town that the viewer knows… yet does not know because
suddenly a different memory – delicate, singular, precise – fastens
onto it and takes possession. These squares of colour encapsulate
the understated splendour of Saint-Malo in its utmost essence,
a sensation stronger than the strongest alcohol, a spectacle both
unchanging and in motion, an intoxication of delight to be
repeated over and over. They speak of salt on the skin, these
photographs. They speak of the sound of the waves, of the distant
cries of the gulls and the shouts of children at play.
They speak of the boats in silhouette. They speak of moments
of sheer happiness, serene and suspended in a perfect agreement
between water and stone, between what we feel and what we see.
Because, first and foremost, there is the light.
Hélène Gestern