Guillaume Simoneau: Experimental Lake
This compendium of images is inspired by the dual principle of common good and necessary evil. Canadian photographer Guillaume Simoneau explores a place far removed from our everyday vanities: the Experimental Lakes Area in the sparsely populated region of northwestern Ontario. But rather than a book about the 58 pristine lakes that comprise this world-renowned natural laboratory, Simoneau’s allusive photographs use the freshwater site as a means to look outwards, to consider a world beyond our own reflections. Unhinged from the moorings of narrative readings, the sequence of images floats between botanic life – aquatic and terrestrial – and hand-made apparatus used by an influential community of international scientists based in the area. The findings of their research into human impacts on entire ecosystems have significantly influenced the decisions of governments and industries. By testing, for example, the effects in the lakes of new chemical substances, they have been able to inform global environmental policies. Simoneau’s elliptical documentation of their work is punctuated by sublime vistas of calm waters and pine trees, and of remarkable natural phenomena. United by an enigmatic orbital motif, the photographs in Experimental Lake lead us on an illuminating journey.