To understand a person’s actions, one often first needs to understand their motives and their influences. There is no doubt that Padiès, my home in France, was my most significant influence for DOWN TO EARTH. Moving from urban New York to rural, Lempaut in 2002 fundamentally changed the way I saw the world—and I was ripe for this to happen.
As I grow older, the instinct to do this has become fundamental; it is realignment towards what I consider vital in life: a celebration of nature and fecundity, the correlation between our bodies and the earth, growth and death.
DOWN TO EARTH is about returning to these basics. The images inspired by the sustainable and regenerative organic farming that we practice at our home at Les Jardins du Château de Padiès. The carvings on the Château’s Renaissance façades of ancient Greek mythological figures depicting fertility and abundance also an inspiration.
For the first time, I shot digitally. It worked. I had no assistants, no fancy lighting—just the intimate collaboration with the subjects, the environment and, of course, nature itself.
While working on DOWN TO EARTH throughout one entire agricultural cycle, it was impossible not to become acutely aware of the climate change crisis our world is facing. In our small way, we are doing what we can at Padiès to combat this.
“The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible.”
Lady Eve Balfour, Soil Association founder