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Arles reinvented by photography

From Ansel Adams, who took this view of the Thermes de Constantin in 1974, to the photomontages of Jerry Uelsmann, who has served up a fantasmagorical vision of the monumental, photographers are constantly reinventing Arles as the historic backdrop for a private theatre of their own.
Arthur Tress's shadow theatre, Mimmo Jodice's meditations, Vasco Ascolini's metaphysics, Marcello Grassi's mysteries and the luminous spectres of Bruno Cattani rub shoulders with the work of Jean Bernard, for whom light creates substance, and Eva Rubinstein, who gently sculpts and blends forms. Or, indeed, Yannig Hedel, who shows how the city transmutes time and the substance of monuments. For her part, Jacqueline Salmon is fascinated by the unusual connection, in Arles, between the architecture and the great sky. She has chosen two extremes, the cryptoportica and the sky over the city. It is an architecture of void and shadow, where light is ordered, in which images of the immutable eternity below look up at the shifting eternity above. In Suite d'Arles by Corinne Mercadier, the air is contained - in the fullest sense of the word - by the architecture. Rising from the roof of the Eglise des Prêcheurs - which resembles a faceted crystal that has been laid out flat -  are mobile shapes that tap into the memory of the void, the memory of place, as though suspended in their present space. In this way, the symbolic role of the Mistral and the force of a light constrained by geometry are made perceptible. The architectural order of the landscape is a foil to the powerful Arlesian landscape and the extremes of nature, which also fascinate photographers. Water (the marshes, the sea and the Rhone) are intimately connected with the sky, the light conspiring to blur their boundaries. Petrified vegetation, "cultivated" landscapes, salt marsh hills where all sense of scale between water and sky is lost, minute variations of light in which water becomes a membrane, the notion of time measured against the insignificant traces left behind by man... these regards on the landscape are, in fact, a meditation on the infinite.