Dam and Man in Savoy



“It is not until a building has assumed this character, till it has been entrusted with the fame, and hallowed by the deeds of men (...) that its existence can be gifted with language and life.”
John Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture, 1849

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["Dam and Man in Savoy"]
During one year, at the request of the FONDATION FACIM, and in close collaboration with Electricité De France, I walked the roads and the vast network of hydropower in the Beaufortain area, Savoy (French Alps).I climbed a few hills, explored every corner of the power plants, scrutinized every detail of the machines, and went through forbidden doors. From a Pelton turbine detail, to a large vision of a dam melted in the Alps mountains, I have punctuated these images with portraits of witnesses from the dams' construction days.

Several times, I happened to find myself alone with these "quiet fortresses", especially under inclement or snowy weather. During several hours, I walked tirelessly around the high pastures, or along the water reservoirs, the vault, looking for the best picture possible. Alone with these monumental constructions for miles around, I established a special relationship with them, almost intimate. In our mutual silence, I absorbed their impressive and reassuring presence, their high mountain fortified castles looking. And those great "shelters", mine for a few hours, then kindly revealed to me some of their secrets.

   
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Dam and Man in Savoy

Monograph by Céline Clanet
Texts by Thierry Salomon, Pierre Blancher, Hervé Gaymard

ACTES SUD (FRANCE), 2011
Copublishing Fondation FACIM
164 pages, 58 color photographs
10.2'x10.2', hardbound
ISBN 978-2-7427-9649-6


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Fishermen, Roselend dam Roselend dam High mountain pastures, Saint-Guérin dam La Girotte dam, vaulting maintenance Brice Wong, engineer of Roselend dam-La Bâthie power plant from 1960 to 1962 Roselend dam Roselend dam, lower facing Roselend dam, upper facing La Gittaz dam, service entrance Jean Monin, controller at La Girotte dam from 1940 to 1946 Roselend dam, upper facing detail La Girotte dam, as seen from Colombe La Girotte dam, buttresses Patrick Carrera, dam workman from 1970's until 1990's La Gittaz dam, maintenance tunnel Roselend dam, vaulting foot La Girotte dam Dominique Viallet, workman on several dams' construction sites from 1960 to 1963 Roselend dam Roselend dam, at the end of winter, when the water retention is at its lowest level Nino Manfiotto, workman at La Girotte dam from 1942 to 1949 La Girotte dam, lower facing of one of the vaultings Saint-Guérin dam, lower facing of vaulting Roselend dam, Méraillet buttresses Jean-Pierre Blanc, alpagist (high mountain farmer), whom a part of the lands was flooded by the Roselend dam from 1959 Villard-sur-Doron power plant, penstock Beaufort power plant, penstock Roengers power plant Venthon power plant, engines room Pelton turbine, La Bâthie power plant Hydraulic machine, Queige power plant Valves room at the foot of the penstock, La Bâthie power plant Hydraulic machine, La Bâthie power plant Very high voltage station, La Bâthie power plant Marcel Sapin, La Bâthie mayor during the power plant construction in 1961 Hydraulic machine, Villard-sur-Doron power plant Controls room, La Bâthie power plant Engines room, La Bâthie power plant Pelton turbine, La Bâthie power plant Well of head valve, penstock, La Bâthie power plant Access tunnel to the starting valves, from La Bâthie power plant to the Roselend dam Water leak, La Bâthie power plant Venthon power plant Penstock, Villard-sur-Doron power plant Aqueduct, Roengers power plant Very high voltage station, La Bâthie power plant Very high voltage station, La Bâthie power plant Spillway, Roengers power plant Elisabeth Viallet, farmer and elected representative in Beaufort during the Roselend dam construction from 1956 to 1961 La Girotte dam