Since the dawn of time, life unfolds by following watersheds. It was by going up rivers from the sea that the first living beings wove a complex web of interdependent life forms. The knowledge of watersheds seems fundamental to live in harmony with these environments and taking care of them, as native people do. When an instrumental approach considers water only as a resource to be drained and controlled, a relational approach shows that water awakens our original bond to ourselves, to others and to the world.
Taking its source between Jura’s and Ain’s areas, the Valserine flows in meanders through valleys and high plateaus, then sinks into magnificent gorges, evolving into waterfalls, potholes and limestone’s canyons before flowing into the Rhône. In 2014, it was the first river to receive the “Rivières Sauvages” label. Beyond the ecological criteria, the awarding of this label has above all made it possible to offer a space for dialogue and to highlight the efforts of the various actors of the valley. It’s a vector that encourages everyone to be virtuous in their use of water and space.
Human’s history with rivers and watersheds is long and complex. While water appears to be an increasingly central issue in ecological and social struggles, it’s the awareness of this relationship of interdependence and care, ancestral and existential, that we must defend.
Aurélie Monnier is a French photographer from Loire Valley and based in Haute-Loire.
After a degree in Visual Communication and several years as a graphic designer, she chose to devote herself to photography and to carry out her personal projects in a documentary and narrative approach.
Leaded by existential and ecological questions, her work is interested in the relationship between human and natural spaces, and the meanings to belong to a place.
© Text and pictures by Aurélie Monnier