Scorched Earth

Christoph Montebelli

2021 - Ongoing

Every summer the sad spectacle of wildfires repeats itself in our planet’s forests, giving way to vast landscapes of desolation. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 350 million hectares of forest burn each year, more than six times the area of ​​France, or eighty percent of the European Union. The frequency and magnitude of these fires have increased over the years, a phenomenon that scientists attribute to human-induced global warming.

The South of France is no exception to this. In August 2020, 960 hectares of forest burned near Martigues, and 360 hectares next the Istres, two places close to Marseilles. The following summer, an area of ​​240 hectares near Beaumes-de-Venise in the Provence went up in smoke. The most devastating fires of the year however spread in the Massif des Maures close to the seaside resort of Saint-Tropez, resulting in two people dead and 6,800 hectares in flames - the equivalent of 9,500 football fields. The cause of this fire is as sad as tragic: the careless drop of an incandescent object at a motorway rest area.

The photographic series is part of a larger project that aims to draw attention to the concrete consequences of climate change. All photographs were taken in medium format in 2021 and 2022.

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  • Scorched Earth #1
    (Beaumes-de-Venise)

  • Scorched Earth #2
    (Massif des Maures / Grimaud)

  • Scorched Earth #3
    (Massif des Maures / Grimaud)

  • Scorched Earth #4
    (Massif de Maures)

  • Scorched Earth #5
    (Côte Bleue)

  • Scorched Earth #6
    (Auriol)

  • Scorched Earth #7
    (Auriol)

  • Scorched Earth #8
    (Vitrolles)

  • Scorched Earth #9
    (Massif des Maures / Grimaud)

  • Scorched Earth #10
    (Beaumes-de-Venise)

  • Scorched Earth #11
    (Beaumes-de-Venise)

  • Scorched Earth #12
    (Massif des Maures / Grimaud)

  • Scorched Earth #13
    (Générac)

  • Scorched Earth #14
    (Massif des Maures / Grimaud)

  • Scorched Earth #15
    (Côte Bleue)

  • Scorched Earth #16
    (Plaine des Maures)

  • Scorched Earth #17
    (Beaumes-de-Venise)

  • Scorched Earth #18
    (Plaine des Maures)

  • Scorched Earth #19
    (Massif des Maures / Grimaud)

  • Scorched Earth #20
    (Beaumes-de-Venise)


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