The San Gorgonio pass, a valley between San Gorgonio and San Jacinto, was formed by the San Andreas fault. The pass gathers altogether a nexus of traffic roads, power lines and the Whitewater river, whilst presenting a transition between two landscapes, two climates, as well as an entrance gate to the desert. Warm oceanic air meets warm desert air, intensifying the power of the wind entering between the two mountains. The valley faces frequent sandstorms and hosts one of the three wider windfarms of the U.S.
Sand and dust are spread in the whole valley round.
We are entering by this gate, visiting the valley south up to Salton Sea and towards the Imperial valley, also formed by the fault, aiming at renewing this very San Andreas fault’s representation.
Joe Deal, photographer affiliated to the New Topographics, documented in 1970 the suburbs’ life along the San Andreas fault in South California.
Half a century later, in 2019, this series offer the vision of an unstable and fragile observatory. Underground forces have not yet triggered the feared earthquake. On the ground, humans try to dominate their natural environment. A wind farm appeared in the San Gorgonio wind corridor; sandpiles accumulate in its surroundings. Human traces have vanished here and there; and the Salton Sea, contaminated, became inhospitable.
Born in 1984 in Normandy, France, Jérémie Léon lives and works in Paris. He graduated from Gobelins photographic department in 2008.
Jérémie Léon’s photography focuses on landscapes and architecture. He photographs specific “zones”, their condition, their shapes, as well as their geographical context and boundaries. With long wanders on rarely used or ordinary paths, he documents these places, most of which under mutation and resistance.
Wandering. Observing. Feeling. The slow pace of walking allows a peculiar sense of attention and sensitiveness to landscapes.
He offers a poetic and engaged point of view, curious and interested, questioning the reasons causing temporary changes of areas, and men claiming these areas over.
He shares his time between personal series and assignments, mainly editorial. In 2020, he has been choosen with photographer Ambroise Tézenas to achieve the Landscape Photographic Observatory along the Seine river; a public commission due to be exhibited in Paris in 2022.
© text and pictures by Jérémie Léon