A guardian of history if ever there was one, architectural photographer Philippe Roguet takes us on a journey of discovery through his fascinating work.
Exploring the Rout Lëns brownfield site with him is a visual treat. His eye as a seasoned photographer reveals the unsuspected beauty that emerges from abandoned buildings.
Gradually, a modern neighbourhood will be born. Thanks to Philippe Roguet, future generations will always be able to see what came before them.
A vision of architectural photography
Philippe Roguet’s work focuses on architecture and heritage. He takes photographs of ruins or, as he has done here, industrial wastelands.
For him, an architectural building really means something. It has evolved with history. In order to convey this history in a photograph, you first need to understand the structure and find this meaning.
Another important point is that the photographer has to imagine what people went through and the sometimes Dantesque working conditions in which they were trapped. Part of his goal is to convey the soul of the place.
The challenge of a photograph is to say as much as possible without betraying the subject. Through this image, you should be able to understand the building’s DNA.
To do this, Mr. Roguet works with the view camera technique. This technique requires a great deal of precision when it comes to framing and structuring the photo. Nothing must interfere with the image. The view camera is incredibly old, but also quite modern. It lets you really highlight the details.
In comparison, a photographer used to work with a 24x36mm slide. Here, in terms of definition, image quality and colour detail, it’s like working with 20cm slides!
Photos of the Halle des Soufflantes
The shots reflect one precise moment and are made up of all of its details. For example, in the series of photos of the Halle des Soufflantes, you can see some scaffolding.
The photographer weaves this anachronistic element into the story that he tells. The scaffolding becomes a kind of modern exoskeleton supporting its ancestor as it comes to the end of its life.
The Halle des Turbines (Halle des Batteries)
The second building that the photographer focused on was the Halle des Batteries. In his photographs, the atmosphere is the same as in the Halle des Soufflantes, but there is more blue in the colours.
Philippe Roguet likes to work with the idea of series. This means that when you see the photos in an exhibition, you are following a linear story.
Architectural photographers only use the light that is available.
In the photos taken indoors, the light coming from the left illuminates the corridor with its electricity meters, almost turning it into a character in its own right. This damaged, broken metal, caressed by the light, is somehow quite moving.
The pictures of the electricity meters are always constructed in the same way, yet the things that are happening there are different. It is as if the material has been transformed. The artist photographed each door, each meter with the same framing and the same demanding approach. Displayed side by side, they will help visitors immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the site.
Since the site shut down, graffiti artists have used it as their canvas. Philippe Roguet respects their work, which he does not see as damaging. On the contrary, for him, the tags are like tattoos on the skin of the buildings. They don’t interfere with the image, but rather they enrich it.
The beauty in the details of history
All of Philippe Roguet’s work is intended to be exhibited. As he takes photographs of Rout Lëns, he is already thinking about how the future exhibition will be staged. He imagines the story of the place that he will tell visitors.
Passionate about detail, his photographic technique has been chosen precisely for the precision of the end product. All of his photos are designed to be printed in large, 1 metre formats so that every single detail of the past can be enhanced.
Richly beautiful and precise work that is crying out to be admired!