denis piel b. 1944 in France and raised in Australia is an internationally acclaimed photographer, best known for his groundbreaking editorial work during fashion’s halcyon days of the 1980’s Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair. Piel’s work has always raised an eyebrow, not only for its brave portrayals of his subjects but also for its fresh, almost raw honesty. Piel’s eye is now trained on Mother Earth, as sensual a subject as he had ever encountered.
“My work captures a primal, sensual connection to the earth. This is not conventional soil imagery, which is why it has unexpected power. My coming from a fashion background where everything is visual, temporary and excruciatingly sophisticated to a world where everything is fundamental, sensual and enduring gives me the unusual ability to offer a unique perspective to combine the logic of soil conservation with the power of emotion. All the images in the exhibition are inspired by our life at the Château de Padiès and the regenerative organic farming we practice which gives me a direct connection to the subject. This work could inject an unexpected visual vocabulary into the subject of the soil, to spark discussion and trigger debate. It combines the aesthetic of the contemporary, sensual, even controversial imagery with primal earthiness. The contradiction creates vital visual power to go beyond the expected, and generate emotion beyond pure logic. I think this work offers a rare opportunity to confront the subject in an unexpected way. To introduce a fresh, unpredictable perspective beyond “worthy.” I feel with DOWN TO EARTH we can stimulate debate and create a deeper awareness of the relationship between our bodies and our earth. We are what we eat.”