Only those photographers who straddle the space between art and fashion are game to delve headfirst into the dark undercurrent of heavy themes; to shed away the glossy surface and create something beautiful from a place that pools with grief or tension or solitude. The approach is important, here: how do you allow yourself to be inspired by a dark event without seeming to glorify it or invite criticism of gratuitousness?
We’ve seen dedication to this process in the works of Remi Rebillard before. Time and again, in fact. So his willingness to place a beautiful model in a gritty reminiscence of a World War II massacre is unexpected without being wholly surprising.
The original village of Oradour-sur-Glane in west-central France remains as a crumbling, burnt-out shrine to some 642 people that died there on the 10th of June, 1944. On that day, the smoke rose from the ashes of men, women and children burned alive by a troupe of SS officers.
Rebillard’s shoot Nostalgie takes us to the site of the massacre and pays homage to the one female survivor – a woman named Marguerite Rouffanche who lost her husband, son, two daughters and seven months old baby in the unimaginably tragic turn of events. The ruins of the village provide the haunting and authentic backdrop for the pensive series of photographs that don’t recreate the events that took place there, but rather pay solemn tribute to them.
Executed with respect and with grace, Rebillard’s photos from Oradour-sur-Glane have a haunting effect that’s felt on your very skin. View the full set of photos at the gallery and see more of Remi’s work at his website.