Alan Gignoux is an award-winning documentary photographer and founder of Gignoux Photos, which produces documentary photography and film projects focussing on socio-political and environmental issues around the world.
Gignoux is committed to exposing the effects of displacement on communities around the world. His most exhibited body of work, Homeland Lost, juxtaposes portraits of Palestinian refugees with their former homes in Israel. He has been a regular visitor to the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria, building relationships and recording camp life since 2005. For his current project, “You can see me, but I don’t exist,” he uses a camera obscura to document asylum seekers living in limbo in European cities.
Alongside his work documenting refugee communities, Gignoux has for the past ten years been investigating and recording the impact of fossil fuels extraction and metals mining and refining on local communities. His photographs show the way in which landscapes have been permanently altered to make way for mining, scarred by the infrastructure of the mining industry, and poisoned by pollution of the air, soil, and water. The short documentary films that often accompany his images reveal through interviews the conflicting interests of mining company owners, politicians, activists, industry employees, and residents, throwing light on the complexities involved in transitioning to a low carbon future.
The NCCA (National Centre for Contemporary Art) invited Gignoux to participate in a residency in Yekaterinburg, Russia in 2009. Photographs taken during the residency will be published this year in Russian Rust Belt, which looks at the effects of industrial decline and pollution on the people and landscape of the Urals region.
In 2010, Gignoux began work on Oil Sands, which documents the effects of the bitumen extracting industry on the Albertan environment and communities. Oil Sands was developed into an award-winning photobook and selected for exhibition in Taxed to the Max, the Noorderlicht Photofestival, in 2019.
Gignoux first visited the Appalachian region in 2012. In 2015, he released Appalachia: From Mountaintops to Moonscapes, a short documentary film shown at film festivals internationally and short-listed in 2016 for the AOP Awards. He self-published a photobook with the same title in 2021.
Gignoux is currently working on Monuments, which contemplates lives affected by the insatiable hunger of surface coal mining in Germany. People living in the path of the ever-expanding Garzweiler surface mine south of Dusseldorf are being systematically evacuated from their homes and rehoused. All four of the photography series above were included in Gignoux’s solo exhibition Bruised Lands at the Briggait in Glasgow in November 2021, concurrent with the COP 26 conference on climate change.