REVIEW: Down To Earth by Denis Piel
By Jendayi Omowale
Denis Piel is a renowned photographer notable for his work in the fashion industry throughout the 80s, producing iconic images for the likes of GQ, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. His photography is often characterized as three-dimensional - his masterful artistry brings a grounding realism and sensuality to any visual narrative. In his latest project, Down To Earth, Denis Piel evokes the same sense of authenticity and lifelike imagery that his fashion photography is heralded for. Down to Earth is inspired by Piel’s rural lifestyle at the Les Jardins du Château de Padiès, a 12th century Renaissance château, where he and his family practice organic and sustainable farming. The images in Down to Earth illustrate the honesty of the relationship between the natural landscape and the human form, joined in the concepts of fragility, and the cycles of life and death.
Down To Earth is a series of 168 black and white and color photographs taken during the agricultural season of 2013-14 that portray Mother Earth in an erotic and carnal light. In a video from the Down To Earth series, a nude woman is seen elongating her figure comfortably in a sea of grass, and then playfully rolling her form in the field, and in this process her body starts to blend into the natural setting - this is a perfect summary of Denis Piel’s vision for his newest book; the innate connection between the human body and nature. These undiluted and raw images project themes of fertility, abundance, and purity of the earth and its kinship with the presence of human vitality.
For Denis Piel, Down To Earth is the expression of his, “most precious, personal concepts of life,” and representational of the significant relationship nature has with humanity. His poignant observations of the effect that climate change is having on our environment reflects the environmental consciousness that surrounds the artist’s lifestyle and perspective. Down To Earth reveals how nature’s methodology is mirrored in the basics of human life; connected in the patterns of birth, growth, and death.
Denis Piel’s Down to Earth series is available for sale on November 9th, 2016. You can pre-order it here: http://www.denispiel.com/index_series.php?main_category_id=1