The French photographer Patrick Wack created the series Landscapes of No Confinement in his adoptive Germany. His images capture a strange feeling of freedom right when half of the planet’s inhabitants are under lockdown in their homes.
Many of us have dreams like this right now: rolling green hills stretching out of sight, walks with friends beneath an immense blue sky, the fragrance of spring in our nostrils. There is something surreal about Patrick Wack’s images, especially if one realizes they were taken between March 26 and April 24, 2020: right in the middle of the Coronavirus crisis. “Stay-at-home measures have been minimal in Germany,” explains the photographer. “People can venture outdoors not just out of necessity. The city is to some extent deserted, but the landscape is not totally devoid of human presence as in other capitals.”
In Wack’s bucolic tableaus, humans are often lost in the boundless landscape. They pop up here and there, numerous but scattered. They seem to have regained harmony with nature, as if, freed from the constraints and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, they had instinctively returned to their natural habitat. Has Matisse’s Luxe, Calme et Volupté [Luxury, Calm, and Pleasure] finally become reality? “I wanted to go against the grain of what many photographers are doing—who insist on the absence of humans in the city center—and instead show this pastoral in-between, where human presence seems to coexist in better harmony with the city’s newly restored serenity, rather than being surrounded by constant hubbub.” His photographs are like harbingers of brighter days to come.