Namibia is a country of deserts with barren stretches that yield only to subtle variations of the same aridness. Fascinated by these extraordinary landscapes and its distinct visual qualities Belgian photographer Maroesjka Lavigne devised Land of Nothingness – a photographic journey into and study of this unforgiving environment. In a stunning process Lavigne composes from the seeming desolation and barrenness of nature a visual symphony that is dominated by the pale hues of the desert and spotted with wildlife.
The animals and the very landscape in which she finds herself appear to respond to her camera lens. The resulting images are harmonious compositions that showcase the natural rhythm of the desert with wildlife sightings and staggering landscapes as highlights to the monotony.
At the same time, Lavigne seems to explore the themes of solitude and slowness in her photographs.In a statement about the series, Lavigne says: “Patience is required to discover the wide range of Namibia’s ever-changing scenery. It literally takes you hours driving though nothing to arrive at… more of nothing. The sight of other people is rare and only the strategically located gas stations are a reminder of the world beyond.”
Though at times the sameness can be hard to navigate, Land of Nothingness uncovers the unexpected beauty often hidden in plain sight on the scorched earth of the Namib. And Lavigne reveals the carefully balanced order that comes with life on an unrelenting desert.Four Giraffes shows the cadence in which all of nature moves. These giants tower over every other animal on Earth but are dwarfed by the majestic wildness of the desert, becoming a part of the pattern of the land. Evidence of human encroachment on the natural beauty of Namibia is few and far between, this is a place at the mercy of the rule of the elements.
Gaze shows just how minute human influence is when their presence can be nearly mistaken for parched vegetation. Lavigne has ventured into a world devoid of the consumer culture and the dictate of time – in sharp contrast she portrays a place where hours of driving pass before you see anything other than sand dunes you must confront your own insignificance.
LAND OF NOTHINGNESS
ROBERT MANN GALLERY