Olivier Meriel is passionate about Normandy, with its turbulent climate, its ancient towns and shing ports, and its farmland dotted with cows and sheep. The son of a chemist, he lives and works in the small seaside town of Saint Aubin-sur-Mer just as his ancestors did before him making photographs that perfectly capture the feeling of history this region is steeped in. Meriel's landscapes, while dark and moody, ultimately document his search for light. This light is reected off the land and as surfaces act as mirrors, they exude a subtle glow that seeps into even the darkest corners. A human presence that is felt but not seen quietly leads us to explore and to contemplate the secrets of this magical place and the profound meaning of existence. Meriel's work is held in the Maison Europenne de la Photographie and the Fonds National d'Art Contemporain in Paris, and in a number of other collections in France and the United States. Published to coincide with an exhibition of Meriel's work at Conches-en-Ouche. Introduction in English and French by Candace Perich.
Born in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, France.
Initially self-taught, begins taking photographs at the age of 20.
A visit to Ireland awakens his interest in landscape. Decides to make photography his medium of expression.
Spends several months in Iceland, refining a chiaroscuro style which will dominate much of his subsequent work.
Begins to work on an extensive study of the Bessin region of Normandy, comprising landscapes, interiors and animal or coastal still lifes.
Photographs the former iron ore mines of Soumont-Saint-Quentin for the department of culture of the Lower Normandy region.
Is commissioned to photograph the Lot region for the Printemps festival in Cahors.
Produces a series of photographs of the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel for the coastal conservation body.
Receives a new commission from the coastal conservation body and the Upper and Lower Normandy regions to carry out a major photographic study of the Seine estuary and Normandy coastline, to be presented in a series of exhibitions and published in a book.
Receives a commission for a future museum from the Calais Museum of Fine Arts and Lace.
Photographs the Lofoten Islands off the northwest coast of Norway for the local authorities and the Norwegian Tourist Office in France.
Is commissioned by the Maison de Victor Hugo in Paris to produce a series of photographs of the house Hugo occupied during his 15-year exile in Guernsey. They are exhibited during the Mois de la Photo festival, under the title Dans l'intimité de Victor Hugo à Hauteville House.
Retrospective exhibitions in Bordeaux, Honfleur, New York (Candace Perich Gallery), Norway (Nordesk Museum, Svolvaer), Paris (Galerie Esther Woerdehoff) and Caen (Artothèque).
Exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen, entitled Photographies, Normandie 1995-1999 ( studies of the coast from Le Tréport to the Mont-SaintMichel ).
July 2000 : exhibition of photographs of strangely "haunted" houses at the Baron Gérard Museum, Bayeux.