A photographic series by Yann Coatsaliou
“He's a real Nowhere Man.Sitting in his nowhere land. Making all his nowhere plans for nobody…”
In 1965, John Lennon, slouching in his couch, is frustrated, lacking inspiration. “I truly had the feeling I was a man from nowhere, sitting in a land that does not exist.”
Fifty years later, this 20th century Nowhere Man comes alive once more. Inspired by Lennon’s lyrics and the song’s deeper meaning, he becomes the subject of a new photographic series.
As a photographer, my goal was to play on the contrast between Nowhere Man and his surroundings. To confront man with the effect he’s had on his environment. To catch the eye, assault it even, I wanted extreme pictures. A natural world apparently inert, but teeming with incredible power.
Arms defiantly crossed or raised towards the sky amidst stupefying landscapes, Nowhere Man remains a constant in this series of self-portraits. I wanted his legs to be firmly rooted everywhere. They are an integral part of the pulse of these photographs. They must remain as solid as the immovable and impressive weather on display in each picture.
At times arid, dreamlike or hostile, the landscapes change but Nowhere Man does not. He occupies the space, passive, alone, an enigmatic figure that is simultaneously sublime and grotesque. Sublime in his belonging to the world. Grotesque in his hubristic belief that he could dominate it.
Finally, these pictures required balance; all the elements needed to find their place. And more importantly, they needed strength and energy, in line with the tough questions they ask about our future.
Nowhere Man is there to provoke a series feelings: that of belonging to many universes, those that remain preserved and untouched, and those where man has left his mark. We must accept both and proclaim our right to existence.
John Lennon’s creature “living in a nowhere land” therefore became a man who had to exist, only better.
The goal is not to point the finger at the planet’s degradation, but rather to become aware of its magnificence and man’s place within it. My photographs only seek to show that Nowhere Man is in fact somewhere.
There is no message, merely a question: Where are we going? Only the natural world will have the last word on the matter.