Savoie Faire

Ongoing series. French Alps.

An observational photographic series recording the absurd, banal and incongruous motifs of ski tourism, juxtaposing the natural beauty of the French Savoie region with the man-made infrastructure, architecture and assorted accoutrements of the Alpine skiing industry.

Savoie Faire is a pun on the Anglicised French phrase savoir-faire, meaning adroitness and adaptability, essential characteristics for any one committed to Alpine pursuits; moreover, it reflects the increasingly Anglophone vernacular of the Alps, with around 1.5 million Britons estimated to hit the slopes each year. Since its growth in popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, skiing has long ceased being a genteel pursuit of the European aristocracy, and is now a well-established signifier of conspicuous consumption, particularly in the UK. Savoie Faire is also a pun on Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackery’s satire of class and society.

This series tacitly acknowledges its antecedents: the Australian artist Peter Doig’s painting Ski Jacket, the deadpan acidity of British photographer Martin Parr’s photos from St Moritz, the Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s 2014 film Force Majeure, and Austrian photographer Lois Hechenblaiker’s excellent series Off Piste (2009) and Winter Wonderland (2012).