Guillaume Millet – The Frontier

Guillaume Millet

The Frontier

“The buffalo trail became the Indian trail, and this became the trader’s trace, the trails widened into roads, and the roads into turnpikes, and these in turn were transformed into railroads.”               Frederick Jackson Turner, The Significance of the Frontier in American History, 1893

In American culture, the Myth of the Frontier corresponds to the territorial expansion towards the West during the XIXth century, a moving line between cleared and wild lands, the wild ones to be civilized. American society and identity have been built on this myth and many fictional or real stories have fed into a collective imaginary. In September 2012, I crossed the United States from East to West. Comfortably sat next to the driver, I lived this mythic crossing with the Pacific Ocean in focus. Now it is my turn to feed this collective imaginary by showing from the road this endless, wild and mystical territory.

 

 

 

 

Bio

Millet is a 38-year-old French photographer based in Nantes. He studied Geography and his photography work focuses on the relationship between humans and the spaces we built and live in.

 

 

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Guillaume Millet

10 Responses to “Guillaume Millet – The Frontier”


  • I don’t like anything about this.Obviously it’s a choice but the washed out look is just terrible and if you can be bothered to stop the car to take a picture then you are not really trying.

  • hharry surely he got at and rattled his snake to water some tumbleweed

  • ps Looks like Mr Harvey is causing havoc in Texas

  • “If you can(‘t) be bothered to stop the car to take a picture then you are not really trying.”

    Unless, of course, you are trying to photograph what something looks and feels like as you pass by in a car.

    I have troubles with the washed out look, too.

    As Guillaume states, he is covering ground that has been covered again and again and again (not necessarily a bad thing to do) and strives to find a way to make it look fresh and new. To me, the washed out look doesn’t quite do it, but I understand the search and can feel what the pictures tell me he feel, as I have done so many of these drives and shot my camera out the window so many times myself.

  • I think the washed-out look and the shots from a moving car expresses what the photographer wants to say, and I like this essay — certainly more than the spate of recent ones which all seem same-same.

  • I read the comments on my phone before looking at the pictures and now on the computer, I’m surprised how much I like them. There’s a feeling of distance and temporality that echoes the distance and blurriness of rememberance or projection, and a lot of what gets said and felt about the American West is one or the other.

  • Very evocative of a lost past. There’s a palpable sadness here. We often see dark shades in a photograph evocing melancholy but here the harsh, intense light achieves just that while also indicating a hot and difficult environment. I think the transient approach from a vehicle works well.
    – Paul Treacy.

  • Maybe Guillaume got out of the car, may be he didn’t. Regardless, “Mr. Harvey” does encourage all of us to shoot in our own backyards, at home, no? Maybe Guillaume’s “backyard” was “Showing what it might feel like to remember the myth of the American frontier.” I think his approach works…here.

    But, then again, just imagine if we all went out on road trips in our worlds/”backyards” and came back with essays. Imagine that.

    Lots of American identity/history/longing essays/books these days. … too many to list but all based in different backyards. (“ground that has been covered again and again and again (not necessarily a bad thing to do) [that] strives to find a way to make it look fresh and new.”)

    Anyway, good to see some discussion here. “Liking” one photo from an essay on the IG account isn’t sufficiently satisfying for me.

  • “Anyway, good to see some discussion here. ‘Liking’ one photo from an essay on the IG account isn’t sufficiently satisfying for me.”

    Ryan, I agree. Nor is scrolling rapidly through hundreds of Instagram in an hour day, which one must do if one is to keep up, satisfying to me.

    Seeing an essay here on Burn, and reading all kinds of comments on it, good and bad, as used to be commonplace here, is much more satisfying. But Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, are the new realities, however temporary.

    From the first, I thought Guillaume used the “shoot from the car” technique (now common practice, thanks to iPhones and Instagram) well. As all the subject matter in this is familiar ground with me, I have revisited it a few times. The washed out look no longer bothers me. Maybe I just got used to it. Maybe I decided that’s how he actually sees it, even though I do not, and it is worthwhile to see someone do something similar to what you have done, yet differently.

    Guillaume has given me an enjoyable experience.

  • I find this work absolutely refreshing and inspiring and find myself coming back to looking at these photos daily. I think those complaining about the “washed out” look misundertand the work. The look is absolutely integral to the mood and emotional impact of this series, not to mention that it is stunningly beautiful.

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