written by:
photos by:
September 26, 2011
Originally published in Smaller & Smarter

In her book Du Torrent au Courant, des Barrages et des Hommes en Savoie (From Torrent to Current: Dam and Man in Savoy), photographer Céline Clanet documents the infrastructure of hydropower in the Beaufortain region of southeastern France: four dams and ten power plants. Set in the midst of bucolic hillsides and snowcapped peaks, these structural behemoths have had profound impacts on the surrounding terrain. With a documentarian eye, Clanet captures all facets of these dams and power plants—from their monumental exterior scales, to labyrinthine interior spaces, to caretakers—focusing on how infrastructure has merged with the natural and social landscape.

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  High mountain pastures, Saint-Guérin dam
    High mountain pastures, Saint-Guérin dam
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  Jean-Pierre Blanc, high mountain farmer and cheesemaker
    Jean-Pierre Blanc, high mountain farmer and cheesemaker
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  High mountain pastures, Saint-Guérin dam
    High mountain pastures, Saint-Guérin dam
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  La Girotte dam
    La Girotte dam
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  La Girotte, vaulting maintenance
    La Girotte, vaulting maintenance
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  Nino Manfiotto, who worked at La Girotte in the 1940s
    Nino Manfiotto, who worked at La Girotte in the 1940s
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  Hydraulic machine, Queige power plant
    Hydraulic machine, Queige power plant
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  Engine room, La Bâthie power plant
    Engine room, La Bâthie power plant
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  Valve room at the foot of the penstock, La Bâthie power plant
    Valve room at the foot of the penstock, La Bâthie power plant
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  Roseland dam, Méraillet buttresses
    Roseland dam, Méraillet buttresses
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  Roselend dam
    Roselend dam
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  The lower face of Roselend dam
    The lower face of Roselend dam
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  Service entrance to La Gittaz dam
    Service entrance to La Gittaz dam
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  La Girotte dam's buttresses
    La Girotte dam's buttresses
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  At the foot of the vaulting, Roselend dam
    At the foot of the vaulting, Roselend dam
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  La Girotte dam in winter
    La Girotte dam in winter
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  The lower face of a vaulting structure at La Girotte dam
    The lower face of a vaulting structure at La Girotte dam
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  Lower face of Saint-Guerin dam
    Lower face of Saint-Guerin dam
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  Jean-Pierre Blanc near the Roselend dam
    Jean-Pierre Blanc near the Roselend dam
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  A hydraulic machine at the La Bâthie power plant
    A hydraulic machine at the La Bâthie power plant
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  Inside La Bâthie's control room
    Inside La Bâthie's control room
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  Access tunnel to the starting valves between La Bâthie power plant and Roselend damDon't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    Access tunnel to the starting valves between La Bâthie power plant and Roselend dam

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

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infrastructure impact on social landscapes
High mountain pastures, Saint-Guérin dam

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