“ARN Vol. 1 (or, to give its full title, the Atlas des Region Naturelles Volume 1)” marks the first publication in a long-term project whose scope and ambition is rivaled by few others. Eric Tabuchi and Nelly Monnier, the two artists behind the Atlas, attempt to create a photographic portrait of France by concentrating on the 450 regions naturelles (areas) into which the country is divided.
In sixteen chapters, each focusing on three different regions, Tabuchi and Monnier capture local idiosyncrasies and commonalities in roads, houses, fonts, signboards, history and natural conditions, thereby assembling a visual almanac of identities and ways of life, how they are shaped and how they give shape to our surroundings. More than that, in the background of it herculean ambition, “ARN Vol. 1” is also a photographic record of a modern adventure, an open-ended journey into lands unknown to return with newfound knowledge.
“ARN Vol. 1” comes with a fold-out map of France and its regions. Use of text (all in French) is kept to a minimum. Tabuchi and Monnier also document their project online.